Back To Previous Page

"Armed with Proverbs": Khanga Cloth in Africa EXHIBIT

    • The name for this exhibition comes from a line in the 2008 poem "I Am Khanga" by Khwezi of South Africa, which speaks to the purpose and power of khanga cloth, a light weight, rectangular printed cotton worn primarily by women in several countries across the African continent. The design printed on khanga cloth always has a four-sided border, a motif inside the border, and a proverb or phrase usually written in Kiswahili. The language printed on the fabric is a silent but literate method of communication for the wearers, who use khanga to express themselves as both individuals and as community members through the cultural and political meanings of the statements on their khanga.