Senegal: Garments

Figure 1.--This Senegalese boy has a gift off a fishing boat landing ithe catch in 1972. He wears a brightly colored dashiki. Photographer: Chester Higgins, Jr.

We notice Sennegalese boys wearing a variety of styles and garments. Senegal because of its geographic location north of the equator in West Africa has a very warm climate. As a result very little clothing was requied, especially for children. This was how children dressed traditionlly with some decorative touches. These reaituinal pattrns continued inti the early-20th century but we begin to see European styles becoming adopted, a first just in the cities. Gradually simple shirts and shorts become very common. Boys commonly wear simple shorts and shorts. We also see pan-African styles becoming popular epecially after World War II. Senegal seems to have been importat in popularizing these styles, in part because it was France's most important sub-Saharan colony. The most important male garment is the the Segalese kaftan, an ankle-length pullover robe with long bell sleeves. The inspiration looks to have been Muslim styles. The term in the Wolof language is a 'mbubb' which in French it known as a 'boubo'. The kaftan is worn with matching drawstring pants called 'tubay'. These kaftan suits are normally made of cotton brocade or synthetic fabrics, sometimes with lace trim. They are worn throughout West Africa, often with a kufi cap. This is not a work outfit, but a dress outfit or casual wear for middle0class or well-to-do people. We rarely, however, see boys wearing them, probably because of cost and simple shirt and shorts are more practical and comfortable. We also see African-style shirts called dashikis. This is a garment we do see boys wearing to some limited extent, presumably because of its simplicity.


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Created: 2:21 AM 5/20/2014
Last updated: 2:21 AM 5/20/2014