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What our African ancestors wore before western clothing

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Before the European colonialists introduced their western way of dressing to Africa, the people of Africa had their own sense of style and clothing that represented their cultural identity.

Different fabrics were used to create diverse and unique types dressing. They were usually generated from fabrics found within natural environments and varied from region to region. They wore animal skin or bark cloth that they manufactured from trees.

The distinction of clothing is what enabled the Europeans to distinguish the different groups and tribes found within the continent.






Here are some breathtaking traditional wears from tribes all over the African continent.

One of the most fascinating African tribes, the Mursi people live in isolated regions of Ethiopia. The tribe has still managed to stick to and maintain their traditional norms till this day. The women wear jewelry on their heads and wooden plates on their lips and ear lobes. They also paint their body with tribal patterns as a form of clothing.

Situated at the eastern part of Sudan, the men of the Beja people wore a white tunic wrapped across their chest and white baggy pants with big bushes of hair with a lot of curls. The warriors would have swords tacked into their attires. Today the men wear a white Sudanese jallabiya (a long, loose-fitting shirt with baggy pants underneath), and a white turban.






South Africa

Situated in the southern part of Africa, the Herero people are an ethnic group of animal herders with majority inhabiting in Namibia. A large population of the group migrated into nearby countries such as Angola and Botswana.






The San people are hunter-gatherers of the southern part of Africa, existing in countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

West Africa

The Mbororo people also known as Wodaabe are spread out from the west of Africa to Central Africa. They are part of a large nomadic group known as the Fulani and they are well known as cattle herders. They wear dyed cloth and have tattooed bodies and faces.






The Hausa are the largest ethnic groups in West Africa. Their culture has greatly been influenced by the Arab Muslims. The men of the tribe wear large colorful flowing gowns and pair them with colorful caps with similar embroidery to the gown.

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