Yesterday I described the men’s attire of West Africa: the main gown or robe known as the Grand Boubou or Agbada, which is accompanied by Sokoto pants, a Dashiki shirt, and the Aso Oke or Kufi hat.
These names are the common appellations from Yoruba—the largest ethnic group of West Africa, which numbers about 30 million individuals who live mostly in Nigeria but also in Benin, Ghana, and Togo.
The Yoruba are an ancient people that established the powerful Kingdom of Ife, which endured as an artistic center for many centuries.
The Yoruba language is actually tonal with 3 tones, and it possesses a wide assortment of sounds.
Interestingly, the Sokoto and Kufi garments derive their names from various cities in Nigeria. Moreover, Kufi means ‘crown’, whereas Aso Oke translates as ‘top cloth’ and comes in brown (the Sanyan), red (the Alaari), and blue (the Etu).Of note, NBA basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon is of Yoruba origins, as is King Sunny Adé, who popularized Jùjú music of Nigeria, which is based on Yoruba percussion.
Now, Dupsie’s online store has made it possible to own your own West African attire! Have a look at the designs while you listen to some Yoruba rhythms.