Kente, a brightly colored fabric that has become a symbol of Ghanaian culture, is a textile of immense value to the Ghanaian people. From its origins in the 17th century as a cloth worn exclusively by royalty and the wealthy, Kente has become an iconic representation of Ghanaian history, ethnic groups, social values, and heritage. In a recent interview with TV3’s Ayisha Yakubu, Baaba Ankrah, a Kente cloth business owner with 12 years of experience, shared insights into the value of Kente and how it has evolved in recent times.
Baaba Ankrah acknowledges that Kente has undergone a significant transformation in the past decade. Today, 80% of her clients prefer modern Kente designs over traditional ones. These new designs feature new patterns, colors, and styles, which are more appealing to a fashion-conscious society. She notes that for her business to thrive, she must keep up with evolving customer preferences. However, she maintains that traditional Kente designs still hold value, and they should not be entirely replaced.
One notable aspect of Kente is that it is handmade, which makes it expensive. According to Baaba Ankrah, the high cost is indicative of the hard work and labor that goes into creating each piece. She believes that the luxury and pride associated with owning something handmade justify the cost. Furthermore, promoting locally made products is crucial for the growth of the Ghanaian economy, and supporting these businesses should be a top priority.
Baaba Ankrah’s observations are in line with the growing demand for Kente outfits for different occasions. Many people now request Kente for graduation, weddings, birthdays, and other events. Kente is not just a cloth; it is a representation of one’s identity and heritage. As such, people tend to value it highly and cherish it for generations to come.
Kente remains a valuable part of Ghanaian culture and heritage. While modern designs have evolved to meet the demands of a changing society, traditional designs still hold significant value. It is essential to continue promoting locally made products, and Kente is no exception. As the world becomes more globalized, it is vital to preserve our cultural heritage, and Kente is an excellent example of this.