With a history that dates back several centuries, Kente is one of Ghana’s most popular cultural goods.
Over the years, the craft has seen many evolutions but the good thing is that, Ghana’s Kente, has not lost its authenticity and value, thanks to the painstaking efforts of talented and hardworking weavers like Dakudzi Yohanes.
The 22-year old young man, earns his living from weaving kente in Ziavi, a small community in the Volta Region where he plies his trade.
In an interview, the skilled weaver disclosed that he got into the Kente business in 2015, learning the art from his big brother in Kpetoe, a town in the Agortime Ziope District, also in the Volta Region of Ghana, and has not looked back since.
Kente, although historically originating from Bonwire, a village in the Ashanti Region, has spread to many parts of the country, with each ethnic group having their own unique designs and names for their fabrics.
On what he does before commencing any weaving, the talented weaver stressed that it was important for a weaver to set up his weaving machine properly with the yarns carefully worked on one after the other.
He admitted though, that not all kente weavers adhere to this “rule”, which he said was fundamental to the success of the project; but went on to reiterate its importance saying it ensures orderliness in one’s work.
He cited sitting for long hours as one of the major challenges every kente weaver faces. Also, one is likely to make a mistake with the yarns in the course of weaving because of how fast the weaving process is. When that happens, the weaver is expected to reverse the yarn and make amends before proceeding.
Yohanes also shared that the recent economic downturn across the country has affected the kente business too, resulting in the increment of raw materials for production which consequently affects the selling price; but expressed optimism that business would soon pick up to make it easier for interested buyers to patronise him.
The price of a female designed kente cloth, he said, was doubles the price of a male designed kente fabric.
On his customers and their preferred designs, he intimated that while some customers prefered to determine their design, others allowed him put together his own designs for them.
In a day, a kente weaver, he revealed, could weave a maximum of sic kente fabrics but in the case where the design is too cumbersome, it would be impossible to weave more than two kente fabrics.
The young kente weaver urged all interested individuals to venture into kente weaving because it is easy to weave, pays well, and is a craft that everyone, regardless of gender, could take on and succeed at.