Dear Nii Kpakpo,
You won’t believe it but it’s already a year since I relocated to the savanna and much as I’ve loved it here it hasn’t been easy at all. First off the kind of social life that I was used to Accra I had to give up because with relocation I told myself to slow down on the “chilling”and spend more time with your sister.
The other thing too Kpakpo is getting used to not only the slow pace of life in general here with the skewed way of thinking of the savanna people. Their thought processes still baffle me. You can think of all scenarios for a particular situation and get to a dead end thinking all the bases are covered only for a savanna person to make an analysis that would confound you.
Happens all the time and even after a year I’m still not used to it.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson, the first time I arrived in the savanna I noticed that most of the women were in African print cloth and they wear that all the time. Most of the women of all ages you meet in the street wear long flowing gowns made of African print cloth.
Being the novice and “Johnny_just_come” that I was, I was made to think that African print cloth might probably be cheaper in the savanna than in the capital and other areas.
So guess what I did? Went to the market to check for myself and Boy! Those prices are steep. The prices of the cloth were higher than even in some places I knew in Accra. After all it had to travel from the south to the savanna.
And everybody was wearing them like the cloth was on free distribution in the market.
Kpakpo the women sew the cloth in long flowing gowns and it hugs their bodies like a constant reminder of our erstwhile African wrapper on a typical African woman’s curves when she wakes up early in the morning. Those curves will make you drool any day so imagine that on a city wide scale.
An African voyeurs heaven.
So I asked around and there are reasons for the preference and predominance of the cloth. Reasons are not only cultural but also there are aspects of religious underlinings. First off, the cloth is very comfy and loose enough and in this sweltering heat of the savanna it is probably the best to counter since air flows through their clothes.
On religious grounds, being predominantly a Muslim community the women claim that if they were to wear anything else they will have to cover it with a cloth to be able to pray in the mosque as per the dictates of Islam.
Nii Kpakpo cloth is sewn with different styles and usually custom made to fit the body of the person wearing it. The cost of sewing depends on the style which usually depends on what occasion it is going to be used for.
The everyday wear come in long flowing straight gown “boubou” types whilst those for weddings, usually sewn by a group of the bride’s friends have more elaborate and fancy styles.
It should be obvious by now Kpakpo that I have intentionally failed to talk about how the savanna men mix and match the African cloth with the western pants and still happen to look both traditional and trendy. I’ve seen some styles that would make the fashion houses of New York, Paris and other world renown spots look like grand expensive opulence when there is such simplicity in comfort.
For me it has been a whole year of discovery and everyday on this journey of discovery brings me closer to the truth that I’m an African through and true and I’m loving it.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson, inasmuch as I’m having a swell time in the savanna I’d keep sending chronicles so that the rest of the world can share it with me and also join me on this African discovery.
Will link up with you later.
Your Cousin in Law,