Celebrating the African Woman: A Multi-Functional Human Species

Women are intelligent creatures tasked with the heavenly duty of serving as a complement to men. However, due to their distinctive being, many women have performed excellently and gone beyond the boundaries of their heavenly assigned tasks. Countless women around the globe are multifunctional human species, playing a dual role of manly and womanly duties with exceptional successes. The list of such women includes but not limited to these, Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale, Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Curie, Emily Wilding Davison, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai, Clara Barton, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Levitt, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Yaa Asantewaa, Winnie Mandela, Margaret Ekpo, Miriam Makeba, Queen Nkinga, and Ruth Williams. In modern Africa, women toil and have positioned their feet firmly in all areas of development. They have shown that they merit great recognition as at par with their male counterparts. Today, it is empirically unarguable that gender equality is less disputed because women in the past and more so, presently, have shown by their remarkable leadership and workable skills that indeed the slogan is true that what a man can do, a woman can do and probably can even do better.

Unfortunately, in many parts of Africa, due to the age-long dark mentality that women must be confined to the domestic home, the rights of women are still trampled upon. The old tripartite systems of customary, traditional and religious viewpoints that undermine the liberty of women to explore their potentials to bolster Africa's development make it difficult to erase completely, various discriminatory practices toward them. The inequality against women in terms of education and in participating in key decision-making areas of development is a haunting plague to the African continent. Estimates indicate that three years after the 2015 target of the second millennium development goals of attaining universal education, female enrolment in primary education still trail at 67%. It is distressing that arranged and forced marriages of young girls still prevail in many local communities in Africa. Due to poverty, many of these feeble young girls are exchanged for money in these untimely and coerced marital unions. African governments must put in great efforts to establish and enforce all legislation against child marriages and all forms of inhumane and degrading treatments against women! Human rights activists and agencies must intensify their efforts in sounding the sensitization and awareness campaign for equal rights for women. Massive education must be pursued by the ministries of gender, women and children affairs as well as civic rights ministries and agencies to enlighten parents, especially illiterate parents on the need to change their wrong perceptions regarding girl-child education.

While the feminism theory is being put into reality today in many societies globally, Africa is still wallowing in darkness regarding the need to enhance women participation in key areas of development. Granted, there have been many giant efforts in this regard as some women have gone against all odds to rub shoulders with their male counterparts in …

Symbols and Color in African Clothing

Africa is a continent rich with diverse languages ​​and people groups. The clothing styles of many African countries have a rich history going back thousands of years. These days you can see African-Americans choosing to enhance their style and celebrate their heritage by donning these garments. The designs of the clothes are one reflection of African culture, but the colors and symbols that decorate them are also important to understand.

African clothes that are made of the combined colors of red, gold and green represent the colors of the stripes of the Ethiopian flag. Also, black, green and gold combinations represent the colors of the African National Congress' flag. Kente cloth is known for its brilliant colors and designs and this cloth is frequently seen as a symbol of the African continent.

The Fulani women wear bright flowing robe-like garments and gold hoop earrings to mark their style and their region. In each region of Africa, the style and colors of garments are a reflection of whom you are and where you are from. For instance, in certain parts of Nigeria, red is seen as a threatening color which can only be worn by chiefs. The color is believed to keep evil away. In other regions, red is the color of achievement or success. Adinkra cloth is worn typically at funerals and farewells. Dark colored adinkra cloth in brick red, brown or black symbolizes death. Alternately, bright colored adinkra cloth in white, yellow or blue is worn for festive or happy occasions. Adinkra cloth is still very popular in Ghana today.

Kente cloth made by the Fante of Ghana has many different designs and colors with various meanings. Red is the symbol of bloodshed and is frequently worn for political meetings and rallies. Green represents fertility and you can see it worn often during a young girl's adolescence. White symbolizes purity or victory. Yellow represents maturity or glory and chiefs frequently wear this color. Blue symbolizes love, and black represents aging.

Knowing the symbolic meanings of color and design in African clothing helps one to have a greater sense of the culture and the rich history of the African styles that one can find today. Whatever your ethnic heritage may be, you can find an African style that reflect your identity and your good taste too. There are a lot of choices, but the variety and the quality are there for you, so enjoy.

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