Mud cloth, also called bogolan, is one of Africa's most unusual and unique textiles.
Narrow strips of handwoven cotton are stitched together into a whole cloth, then painted with patterns and symbols using a variety of natural dyes, including river mud that has been aged up to one year. As these cloths are handwoven, the thickness and weight are variable, but generally they are similar to a light blanket.
Traditionally made by men, they weave together thin strips of plain fabric, usually a yellowish beige natural color, into squares that are then stitched together. After the construction of the cloth, the fabric is then dyed in baths of leaves and branches. This process is used to bind the dye to the fabric.
The fabric is then laid out to dry in the sun, after which beautiful patterns are intricately and carefully painted using a special kind of mud. The mud used is collected from numerous streams and ponds and left to ferment over seasons.
As the mud dries, it changes colors, from dark brown or black to a gray color. The excess mud is washed off the fabric and the process is repeated many times. With each repetition, the affected area becomes darker. The unpainted areas are treated with a bleaching agent, turning the natural yellow color brown. After sun drying for a week, the fabric is washed off and leaves the characteristic white pattern on a dark background.
We will be introducing a multi purpose holiday gift pack in the next few weeks, which will include our beloved mudcloth. It is a one of a kind keepsake so be on the lookout for it!
Beyond the Return is the succeeding initiative to the Year of Return by the Government of Ghana not only to promote tourism and home coming of Africans and Ghanaians in the diaspora, but to foster economic relations and investments from the diaspora in Africa and Ghana.
Beyond the Return was launched by President Nana Akuffo Addo in December 2019 in Accra as the Year of Return initiative was coming to a close. This initiative is a 10-year plan which falls under the theme "A Decade of Renaissance-2020-2030"
The president has vehemently requested that Ghanaians should exhibit the same excitement and commitment as shown during the Year of Return and also work diligently to ensure that diaspora all over the world are actively engaged in this vision.
SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF BEYOND THE RETURN
Afrobeats is a diverse fusion of various different genres such as British house music, hiplife, hip hop, dancehall, soca, Jùjú music, highlife, R&B, Ndombolo, Naija beats, Azonto, and Palm-wine music. Afrobeats is more of an overarching term for contemporary West African pop music. The term was created in order to package these various sounds into a more easily accessible label, which were unfamiliar to the UK listeners where the term was first introduced.
Afrobeats is most identifiable by its signature driving drum beat rhythms, whether electronic or instrumental. The beat in Afrobeats music is not just a base for the melody, but acts as a major character of the song, taking a lead role that is sometimes equal to or of greater importance than the lyrics and almost always more central than the other instrumentals. Afrobeats shares a similar momentum and tempo to house music. Another distinction within Afrobeats is the notably West African, specifically Nigerian or Ghanaian, accented English that is often blended with local slangs, pidgin English, as well as local Nigerian or Ghanaian languages depending on the backgrounds of the performers.
Gold was the major product of the Ashanti Empire and Osei Tutu made the gold mines royal possessions. He also made gold dust the circulating currency in the empire. Gold dust was frequently accumulated by Asante citizens, particularly by the evolving wealthy merchant class. However even relatively poor subjects used gold dust as ornamentation on their clothing and other possessions. Larger gold ornaments owned by the royal family and the wealthy were far more valuable. Periodically they were melted down and fashioned into new patterns of display in jewelry and statuary.
If the early Ashanti Empire economy depended on the gold trade in the 1700s, by the early 1800s it had become a major exporter of enslaved people. The slave trade was originally focused north with captives going to Mande and Hausa traders who exchanged them for goods from North Africa and indirectly from Europe. By 1800, the trade had shifted to the south as the Ashanti sought to meet the growing demand of the British, Dutch, and French for captives. In exchange, the Ashanti received luxury items and some manufactured goods including most importantly, firearms.
The consequence of this trade for the Ashanti and their neighbors was horrendous. From 1790 until 1896, the Ashanti Empire was in a perpetual state of war involving expansion or defense of its domain. Most of these wars afforded the opportunity to acquire more slaves for trade. The constant warfare also weakened the Empire against the British who eventually became their main adversary. Between 1823 and 1873, the Ashanti Empire resisted British encroachment on their territory. By 1874, however, British forces successfully invaded the Empire and briefly captured Kumasi. The Ashanti rebelled against British rule and the Empire was again conquered in 1896. After yet another uprising in 1900, the British deposed and exiled the Asantehene and annexed the Empire into their Gold Coast colony in 1902.
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