Swahili Kanga from Kenya

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Swahili Kanga from Kenya


Finding Women's Voices

story by Sophie Spickenbom

In many societies around the world, women have faced stricter boundaries and limitations than men. In the East African context, women came up with their own way to overcome these societal structures. Women wear kangas, colorfully printed cloths imprinted with a short text which often address topics categorized by society as inappropriate for women to discuss in public. In our kanga, a frame of red flowers surrounds the central motif - three sweet corn cobs. In this story, we will attempt to trace the history of this kanga and the voice it gave to the Kenyan woman who once owned it.

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