As we celebrate international women’s’ day this year, i would like to appreciate a little part of my culture. The colorful, diverse, rich customs that i was brought up with and some that i saw while growing up that turned me into the woman that i am today. A strong confident lady who isn’t afraid of barriers or falling down because i was taught when you fall down, you better get up and move because its not always about the fall but the rise that matters, for that i would like to thank all the women that contributed to my growth.

So today my outfit is a dedication to my culture, a mixture of my Swahili and African modern culture, simple colorful but elegant at the same time.

A combination of leso/kanga and a dashiki top. The Dashiki top is attributed to the west African region of Africa and the Kanga which i am using as a headgear and my bottom wrapper is from the coastal community of Kenya and Tanzania.

In our coastal African communities kanga’s are used in different ways from carrying babies on our backs, to day to day wear by women, as carpets when the bride is walking on her wedding day and also as a veil to hide themselves on the day of the wedding to await for her groom to find her amidst the many women lined up to know if he knows her bride well.

Older women tie of the Kanga is normally from the waist to the floor for full cover while for younger women is usually diverse, for the conservative women they prefer to tie their’s like the elders while the ones that are not prefer to tie them short.

The Kanga’s/ leso are normally made with diverse prints and some have words written on them to communicate a message. The Kanga/leso is a sign of respect, beauty and diversity for us. Its beauty gives us a sense of belonging and pride, while its different ways you can use it reminds me that style is what you choose or do.

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