Don’t kill the Ghana kente brand
Some of us have been watching with keen interest the attempt to kill the original Ghana kente designs and replace them with some new “chameleon and adinkra” types of designs.
I don’t really know what names they have given to the new designs.
The Ghana kente is one of our cherished and priced items of heritage.
It appears our Chiefs and dignitaries are unwittingly leading in the murderous activity of killing the kente.
In short, they are devaluing the kente in the interest of innovation.
The original Ghana kente comes in different exciting designs and colours, with different exciting and proverbial names.
It is loved around the world. The kente comes in many forms and has so many names like “Adwinasa”, “Sika Futoro”, “Kyeretwie”, “Akyepem”, “Nyankontom”, “Akokobaatam”, “Abusua Ye Dom”, “Fathia fata Nkrumah”, etc.
The names also have many messages and stories crafted into them.
The kente is associated with quality and has high value, making it a very expensive cloth.
Of course, it takes wonderful and experienced craftsmen and women many weeks to weave one full kente.
The kente industry is a multi-million Cedi industry in Ghana employing many weavers and others in the value chain across the whole of Ghana; from the middle belt, Volta Region to other parts of Southern Ghana.
In fact, the kente is also woven in La Cote d’ Ivoire and Togo, where it is also used by Chiefs and dignitaries of Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian descent.
Very important places like our Parliament Houses from the Gold Coast, Churches and other important places find it very useful to adorn the backdrops of their podiums and pulpits with different types of kente.
Kente finds a place at every important function. Choirs and Ushers decorate their robes with the kente.
Internationally, Ghanaians are quickly identified as Ghanaians when they don the kente for important functions.
Locally, no Traditional wedding is complete without the couple sewing creative designs of the kente.
The kente has earned Ghana an international reputation all over the world.
Black Africans in the Caribbeans and America and others in the diaspora see the kente as their link to Africa through Ghana and West Africa.
Colleges and Universities abroad use the kente Stole as a symbol of their graduation after years of toil in the academic field.
Black American and non-American Pastors proudly use the kente over their cassocks.
Some Foreign diplomats receive kente as their farewell gifts at the end of their service in Ghana.
The kente serves as end-of-service gifts for some retirees as well.
Why then are we killing the kente in the interest of some weird innovation?
The new designs can serve a certain segment of the market but should not replace the kente as we are beginning to see now.
Sadly, it is our chiefs and leaders who are leading in the destruction of the kente. This must stop now.
We are killing the industry and we shall soon make kente weavers and marketers in the value chain redundant.
Let us not forget the importance of the kente to Black Africans and non-Africans in the diaspora.
Let us not forget the place kente has gained in colleges abroad.
Ghanaians, please don’t kill the Ghana kente brand.
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