N. GROMOVA, Doctor of Philology
E. STROGANOVA, Candidate of Historical Sciences
As soon as you find yourself in Tanzania or Kenya, you will definitely pay attention to local women: in bright colorful clothes, noisy, cheerful, with children on their shoulders and baskets on their heads - they resemble exotic birds. In the Swahili language spoken in these countries, the word kanga means "variegated guinea fowl". It is also the name of traditional women's clothing.
The history of traditional women's clothing in East African countries, especially in the Swahili world, does not go back thousands of years, as in other Eastern civilizations. It is believed that the fashion for wearing such clothes appeared in Zanzibar in the 1880s. 1 According to another version, the appearance of kanga in East Africa is due to the Portuguese, who brought small leso headscarves with them. Six such handkerchiefs sewn together formed the kanga. Until now, in Kenya, kanga can be called leso. Be that as it may, this type of women's clothing, ubiquitous in Tanzania and Kenya, has become an integral part of Swahili culture.
Kanga is a piece of cloth, approximately 110 * 150 cm, or rather, two pieces, since they are sold and are always worn in pairs. Kanga is decorated with various patterns, most often with plant or flower ornaments. Its middle part is called in Swahili mji - "background, field", which is framed on four sides by pindo - "border" - an ornament, a strip of a different color, and such a piece of fabric becomes like a scarf. Along the bottom edge of the kanga on a white background is placed a phrase in Swahili that defines the type of kanga (wedding, funeral, thanksgiving, etc.). This is jina-the" name " of kanga, that is, an inscription that has a certain meaning, a kind of message or message from a woman who is dressed in kanga to someone around her.
Such clothes are worn as follows. One piece of fabric is wrapped around the waist and it looks like a long straight skirt, while the ... Read more