The Short Story Behind African Headwraps

Africa Botswana duku Gele Ghana headwraps Malawi Nigeria tuku Zimbabwe

Now you're probably aware of Headwraps, they come in many colours, sizes and patterns and are used for various different occasions. Now, depending on where you grew up you may never have noticed when you actually started seeing or using headwraps yourself  however, what you probably don't know is the cultural meaning behind some of these headwraps. 

Now depending on where you come from the headwrap has different names. For example in Nigeria you'd call it a Gele, in Botswana a Tuki and in Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe it's called a Duku. Despite the various names the African headwrap has had a similar journey throughout history.

The origin of the headwraps can be traced back to its Sub-Saharan roots where people would wrap their head to protect their scalps and hair from the harsh rays of the sun and also dust during the wind and rainy season. This later developed into being able to non verbally communicate someone's tribe, social class, their relationship status and even their age. 

Despite European nations coming and disturbing the peace in Africa and trying to Westernise African culture, history and teachings by introducing Western values and beauty standards through the years of colonisation, Head Scarfs are not only an accessory to decorate a casual outfit it's also a trophy of the perseverance and strength that black women have shown in order to keep our culture together.  

So next time you're wearing a headwrap remember you're from a long line of strong African warriors!! 

Wear it with pride sis!

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