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Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo

Elisabeth L. Cameron

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Before France and Belgium divided the area in the late nineteenth century, the Republic of Congo (capital Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (capital Kinshasa) were a continuous area that shared cultural traits, including fashion and body art. When the Portuguese arrived at the mouth of the Congo River in the late fifteenth century, they were amazed by the high quality of the raffia cloths produced in the Congo area. The Portuguese introduced European cloth and fashions, and two of

Kuba Dress and Textiles

Elisabeth L. Cameron

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Dress in the ter Kuba kingdom (Democratic Republic of Congo), whether daily wear or ceremonial, marks both rank and prosperity. Men’s and women’s festive dress is an ensemble of skirt, hat, and other beaded and decorated accessories. Rank is indicated through the use of specific items such as eagle or owl feathers, the wearing of certain skirt styles, and restriction of some metals. The density and rarity of added materials demonstrates the resources a family or clan can control and thus their af

Sapeurs

Didier Gondola

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Central African Republic

Michelle Kisliuk and Justin Serge Mongosso

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As the name indicates, the Central African Republic, or Centrafrique, is situated at the west-central heart of the continent. Centrafrique proclaimed independence from the French in 1960. The goal of Barthelemy Boganda, the country’s founder and first president-elect, was to raise the quality of life, which had deteriorated under colonial oppression. Boganda’s vision for his government was to help support the population in five fundamental ways: “to dress, to house, to feed, to educate, and to he

Gabon

Judith Knight and Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Gabon, a Central African country, is located on the Atlantic coast, bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and the Republic of Congo. Historically, Central African societies attach significance to a person’s dress in indicating identity, societal standing, and specific events or moments of importance to individuals or communities. Many Central African peoples in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries wore few clothes. However, the clothing, bodily adornment, and hairstyles and headdress that me

Chad

Kristyne Loughran

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Republic of Chad is a landlocked state in north-central Africa. Most of northern Chad is in the Sahara desert, and the high daytime temperatures and cool nights encourage individuals to wear layered clothing styles. The Chadian population totals about ten million people, who live primarily in rural environments. Islam was introduced fairly early in northern and eastern Chad. The majority of the population is Muslim, strongly supporting conservative attitudes toward dress. Dress ensembles worn

Equatorial Guinea

Enrique Okenve

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The tiny central African country of Equatorial Guinea covers only 28,051 square kilometers (11,000 square miles). It is comprised of a few islands, of which Bioko—formerly known as Fernando Po—off the coast of Cameroon is the largest, and a 26,000-square-kilometer (10,000-square-mile) mainland territory known as Rio Muni nestled between Cameroon and Gabon. With European expansionism, these territories were ceded in 1778 from Portugal to Spain, but the Spaniards did not arrive until 1858. During t

Fang of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

Louis P. Perrois

Translated by Francine Farr

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Fang of equatorial Africa dazzled all who crossed their path of east-to-west migration toward the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea that ended in the early twentieth century. In 1843, U.S. pastor John Wilson noted, as quoted inMerlet’sLe pays des trois estuaires, 1471–1900, that they were “naked except for a bark loincloth …. Their hair hangs in braids. They carry knives, spears, and many iron objects they make themselves.” In 1847, French naval lieutenant Méquet, plying the Como River on the

Mangbetu Dress

Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In the early twentieth century, the Mangbetu and related peoples who live in the northeastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo became iconic symbols in the West of African high fashion. Their practices of head elongation and body painting and their wearing of distinctive fiber and feather hats, bark cloth, and women’s aprons were represented in their art works and in photographs and paintings by Western visitors. These images have persisted in the cultural iconography of the region until rece

“Minkisi” Do Not Die: BaKongo Cosmology in the Christian Rituals of Simon Kimbangu and Simon Mpadi

Shannen Hill

Source: Undressing Religion. Commitment and Conversion from a Cross-Cultural Perspective 2000

Book chapter

The BaKongo cosmogram (figure 2.2) is called dikenga, which means to turn, to twirl, to swirl (Dawson, 1994; Fu Kiau Kia Bunseki, 1994).This rendering is based on one published in an article by A. Fu Kiau Kia Bunseki (1994), a leading BaKongo philosopher. It is now popularly referenced: I have seen it on wrist watches; Thompson (1993) illustrates its appearance on an altar in the Bronx made by an artist who identifies with the philosophy it represents. Its abstracted reference can be found in mul

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