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    Lara Kersley

      Across the African continent, there is clothing that distinctively suggests the tribes and ethnicity of the wearer or to which ethnic group the attire belongs.



      As a form of cultural display and heritage, most attire is worn during special events and at intervals of great importance. However, some are worn to pride in the ethnic group to which those adornments belong.



      The Amhara tribe of Ethiopia



      The Amhara tribe of Ethiopia has a population of 20.2 million. The men wear knee-length shirts, usually, white matching with trousers, a sweater, knee-high socks, and gabi (wrap around). Nice embroidery is usually crafted on this all-white traditional attire on the ends but is usually rare for men.



      The outfit for the women is the Habesha kemis which is often a long snow-white dress decorated with embroidery and accompanied by netela, a shawl.



      The Hausas of Northern Nigeria


      Beginning with the Hausa traditional attire, the Hausa tribe belongs in the northern parts of Nigeria and has a population size of 78 million. Their traditional regalia is always simple and fashionable for both the males and the females.



      The Hausas find it paramount for their females to be well adorned and covered up as dictated by the Islamic doctrine they widely practice. Nonetheless, they look elegant and beautiful in these regalia.



      The kaftan, babban Riga, and traditional hat called hula are the widely known and worn traditional attire of the Hausa population. The baban Riga is usually decorated with colorful embroideries and the hat alike. For the Royals, the embroideries on both the hat and baban Riga usually consist of red, green, and yellow colours depending on the material used for sewing the attire.



      For the female population, they wear an abaya and this gives them a unique identity even when among other people from other tribes. They are also embroidered with colourful embroideries and worn even outside special occasions and events. They decorate their hands and feet with henna drawings that make them distinct in appearance everywhere they go.



      The Igbos of Eastern Nigeria




      The Igbos are a population of around 45 million people and have their location in the south-eastern part of Nigeria.  From their culture and delicacies, this ethnic group like others has their unique way of dressing and they can be easily recognized as such with their dressing styles.



      Before colonization, they have always maintained a distinct style of dressing to this day. These dressings usually show the status of the wearer, of either royalty or a commoner of all ages and divides.



      The Igbo traditional dresses are beautiful and come in several colors which the choicest are usually browns, reds, or yellows, and have a wide range of styles. These styles are meant for different events and occasions depending on the season such events take place.



      Igbo traditional attires the Ozo meant for kings, Ndi-Ozo for subjects, and Emir for travelers.   The ozo is made of a variety of materials and most usually cotton or silk. It is wrapped around the body and has a waistband in front while the wide part covers the back.  The ugba is usually worn by women, but in the present day is worn by both sexes.



      Other attires are the anamu, the igba adi kpekpe, and the Aso-ebi.



      The Yoruba Tribe, Western Nigeria



      The Yoruba tribe has a population of 44 million and is the dominant occupants of western Nigeria. They take pride in their attire and hold them as a rich cultural heritage. They are worn during special events, marriages, and other ceremonies.



      There is the Yoruba Aṣo-Oke which comes in majorly three colors and patterns.



      Some other attires include the Alaari, the Sanyan, and the Ẹtu.



      Clothing materials used for creating these rich cultural attires include Ofi, Aran, and Adirẹ.



      Men dominantly wear Dandogo,  Kẹmbẹ , Danṣiki, Agbada, Buba, Ṣokoto, and matching caps. While women wear Iro (wrapper) and Buba (the top) with a matching head-gear (gele).


      There are over hundreds of other tribes in Africa that have peculiar clothing symbolic to their culture and traditions.

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