Africa is a land of patterns. From its architecture to its eye-catching art work to
landscape, Africa is rich with some of the world’s most compelling motifs.
A trip around the continent will welcome you to beautiful patterns and colors from
its people, language, clothing, culture, and architecture. For example, one such
pattern is the neatly carved laceration—popularly known as tribal mark—that
adorns the face, arm, chest, leg, and backs of Africans.
To an outsider, these marks might look weird or excessive, but for Africa and the
people who wear them proudly, they embody our history, sometimes defining
culture, class, religion and beliefs. In ancient times, there was a lineage of royals
in Nigeria who wore a specific kind of tribal mark to distinguish themselves from
their subjects. Yet, in some instances, it was a spiritually symbolic mark. It’s worth noting that these marks were regarded as beauty marks nonetheless.
Of course, there are also patterned huts that have become somewhat synonymous with the continent. I assure you though, there are excellent modern architecture as much as there are huts on the continent!
Then, even more excitingly, there is the intricately woven and boldly patterned
African fabric—a true and distinct pride of the African continent! Across the
continent we have the Nigerian aso-oke and Ankara, Ghana’s Kente, Uganda’s
Bark cloth, Congo’s raffia fabric, and many others that are replete with history,
just like East Africa’s Kanga fabric, a plain white fabric that used to be worn by
slave women but evolved to become an embellished fabric that represented the
very opposite of what it once signified: freedom.
Make no mistake about it; Africa is full of patterns, most of which define us as a
colorful, proud, bold, and beautiful race. It is this same pattern and pride that we
seek to communicate in our choice selection of quality and affordable fabrics at
Quilt Africa—a place where we believe everyone should be bold, beautiful, and
colorful in their expression of African heritage.
A special thank you to Sabi Writers for their contributing research for this article.