When buying Kente cloth, it’s useful to know that it’s packaged in two ways: men’s kente and women’s kente. Men wear kente like a toga, so if you buy a man’s kente cloth, it will be a much larger piece of material, like roughly the size of a bedspread, and correspondingly will be more expensive. Cost of a man’s kente cloth can be from 300 cedis on up. The price will vary depending on the materials used, number of colors of thread used, and the difficulty of the design.
Women’s kente is about half the cost of a man’s kente because there is less cloth, but it’s sold in three pieces. One piece is wrapped around the body, one is wrapped around the head and the third is the baby wrap, the piece of cloth used to hold a baby on its mother’s back.
I mentioned I just wanted a small piece of cloth. The shop owner said that children sometimes wear kente but he could also sell me just one piece of a woman’s three-piece kente ensemble. Perfect!
The price for one piece of the three-piece set was 60 cedis. I felt more than comfortable with the price, which worked out to roughly US$40 for a gorgeous, hand woven piece of Ghana national treasure about the size of an afghan.
Which one to choose? Oh, that was a problem. Normally I don’t care for orange or gold, but those colors are components of quite a lot of kente designs. Over time, I began to like the kente patterns in orange more and more. I narrowed it down to two, and finally chose this one. Then I had a brilliant idea.
I asked the shop owner if I could take his picture with the piece of kente I didn’t buy “so I could regret it for the rest of my life.” He laughed and stretched out the other piece of cloth.
And I do regret it!!!