Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Unveilng West Africa’s cultural treasure through the African Diaspora Lens. In our previous post, we visited the enchanting world the West African marketplace. In fact, that article focused on the Akos Creative range of unique handmade crafts and gifts. More over, it preceeds a series of blog posts intended to ducate us about the people of the Sub Saharan African region.
Today, I want us to embark on a more introspective journey through the vibrant and mesmerizing world of West African cultural treasure. Now, get ready to be blown away as I count down the top ten unique products of this region.
This is what I call, a trip right into West Africa’s cultural haven. Here, you can brace yourself for an immersive experience filled with colours, scents, and flavours of Sub Saharan African region. I promise you, this will ignite your senses. Now, before you’re immersed you into the falvours of cultural heaven, please allow me to transport you to the heart of West Africa.
So, let’s dive straight into the West African cultural treasure and with this, I start off with diaspora fashion:
1. Adinkra Clothing
Now, anyone can adorn yourself with the symbolic beauty of Adinkra clothing. Each piece tells a story, representing a specific virtue or philosophical concept. From the bold geometric patterns to the intricate hand-printed designs, these garments are more than just fabric – they are a visual representation of the rich cultural heritage of Sub Saharan West Africa.
2. Kente Cloth
Experience the regal elegance of Kente cloth, very popular in Ghana. In fact, Ghana is meticulously handwoven using vibrant and contrasting colors. After the strips are woven, they are carefully stitched together one strip after another.
In fact, each strip of Ghana kente fabric holds its own meaning and significance. As result, the weaving together kente stips tells a story of West African tradition and history. So wrap yourself in the heritage of West African cultural treasure with these breathtaking garments. In deed, they exude beauty and prestige in every sense of the words.
3. Shea Butter
Pamper yourself with the natural goodness of Ghana shea butter. Known for its nourishing and healing properties, this West Africa’s cultural treasure is a staple in skincare routines. Indulge in luxurious creams, balms, and soaps made from the finest shea butter, leaving your skin feeling soft, supple, and rejuvenated.
4. Bolga Baskets
Bolga baskets are handwoven in mainly, the northern part of Ghana. In fact, to date, these baskets are cherished as charming household items. So, you can add a touch of rustic charm to your home with these natural carriers. Now because these baskets are handwoven by skilled artisans using natural materials, they are not only functional but also works of art.
Did you know that Ghana bolga baskets could serve multiple purposes in your home? Firstly these handwoven baskets are perfect for storage or carriers. Secondly, you can arrange them in your living area as decorative pieces. After all, each basket tells a story of craftsmanship and tradition of the Sub Saharan African people.
5. Ankara Fabrics
Unleash your creativity with Ankara fabrics. You can never get enough of this kaleidoscope of colours and patterns that will inspire your fashion choices. So, from vibrant dresses to stylish accessories, these fabrics are a must-have for fashion enthusiasts. As already described in my previous post, Ankara fabrics never go out of fashion. This staple West Africa’s cultural treasure make such a bold statement in contemporary fashion.
6. Nigerian Beads
Nigeria beads has been very popular in the West African marketplace for a while. Now, because of the myriad of colours and sizes they come, they command such a majestic presence in African beadwork. So, adorn yourself with the exquisite beauty of Nigerian beads.
Nigerian beads are skillfully handcrafted using a wide range of materials. For example the intricate designs in the jewelry pieces are unique. In fact, they are a testament to the artistry and creativity of West African artisans.
And, did you know that each Nigerian bead holds its own meaning and significance. Yes, Nigerian beads have meaning same as Ghana trade beads or Krobo beads. The symbolic meaning behind Nigerian beads makes them really special. So, Nigeria beadwork should be part of your West Africa’s cultural treasure.
African Black Soap
African black soap is one item you cannot miss in the West African market place. So, discover the secrets of glowing, blemish-free skin with ths handmade beauty product. Now, did you know that African black soap is made from natural ingredients such as plantain skins, cocoa pods, and shea butter? In fact, over several centuries, because African black soap is made from natural plant based materials, it is hghly potent.
What this means is that, soap is capable of cleansing the skin from many impuritues that your supermarket soap cannot. this soap is renowned for its gentle yet effective cleansing properties. Experience the luxury of a spa-like treatment in the comfort of your own home.
8. Djembe Drums
Feel the rhythm of West Africa’s cultural treasure with the powerful beats of djembe drums. Expertly crafted from solid wood and goat skin, these drums produce a mesmerizing sound that will transport you to the heart of an African village. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a beginner, these drums will unleash your inner artist.
9. Batik Art
Batik art is a traditional form of fabric dyeing which results in stunning and intricate designs. Did you know that you can create your own batik clothing at home? Using few materials and equipments around the house you can make batik art at home.
Firstly you need wax and a metal container in which to melth your wax. Also, you would need a pair of insulated gloves to protect your hands from the hot wax. Lastlym a good working table is ideal to lay your cloth flat.
Now, you can create your own masterpiece of this West African cultural treasure by using beautifully desgned batik cloth. If batick cloth making isn’t your thing, that is okay. In fact, you can buy, or simply admire the work of talented artists who capture the essence of West Africa’s cultural treasure with every brushstroke.
10. Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is food and not yur typical artform yiu would expect. But, in considering the creative cooking process and garnishing it involves, I am tempted to include this delicious dish. So, savour the taste of West Africa’s cultural treasure with the legendary Jollof rice.
Do you like, spicy, savoury or sweets? It does’nt really matter, because I simply want to indulge you in this flavourful dish. Jollof rice, whether cooked in Ghana or Nigeria, comes with a good blend of potent spices. Yes, a good mix of both fresh and processed spices, intended to bring out the flavours from the cooked vegetables, and meats in the jolllof carcerol.
Have you tasted Ghana jollof yet, or even the Nigerian version? Let me explain in musical terms. In fact, each bite is a symphony of flavours that will transport you to the bustling markets of West Africa. Certainly, West Africa’s cultural treasure will not be complete with a delicious and warm jollof rice meal to tuck in.
Final remarks of West African cultural treasure
So, embrace the uniqueness of West African cultural treasure through arts, crafts, fashion, sounds and food. Discover these ten exceptional products that can only be found in the West African marketplace. So you can experience the rich culture and artistic beauty of the African people. To do this, just visit our page and subscribe today. Also, learn more about Sub Saharan African through our Dispora Lens on You Tune.
In fact, the West African region is has one of the most unique cultures in the world. So, the things that make us unique also makes us truly unforgettable.
So, why wait. Join us on our next nostalgic expedition to West Africa’s cultural treasure And let the vibrant melodies and diverse traditions unfold before your eyes. West Africa is waiting to be explored, one unique product at a time.
Akos Creative, West African cultural treasure. Author of African Diaspora Lens, EthicalPreneur. Ghanaian artist, self taught jewellery designer and community activist living in Melbourne Australia. African culture and diversity need to be embraced, not negatively criticised or ostracised. Akos