Do you know that each Ankara Print communicates a different and unique meaning?
The Ankara wax print is commonly known as African wax prints or Dutch wax prints. They are beautifully designed in batik-inspired designs.
Aside from being colorful and nicely patterned, it serves as a means of non-verbal communication among African women. This means that different Ankara Wax prints are reflections of historical events, philosophy, wisdom and memorable events.
Recently, the African print as a result of its texture and vibrant colors has been embraced by other continents.
In this article, we will sneak into the world of African Print by checking out some beautiful designs and the story behind them.
Historical Facts About Some Ankara Designs.
Ahuodi Pankassa Wusa Arm
Leaf Trail is a specially designed Ankara print that portrays a distinct and clear meaning. African traditional beliefs are known to be uniform and widely acceptable even to the point of fabric design worn.
However, different symbols on African prints can be interpreted to have a clear understanding of what the design depicts. Ahuodi Pankassa Wusa Arm Ankara design is a repetitive batik pattern that constitutes dotted lines, floral patterns and stripes.
The name of the fabric, “Ahuodi Pankassa Wusa Arm” which is translated as ‘empty barrels make the most noise’.
There are a lot of elucidations to the meaning of this fabric. Clearly, if you are endowed with something or a particular skill, you are not expected to praise yourself or brag about it as doing this could be depicted as an act of arrogance. Hence, it was believed that if you are noticeably good, other people will praise you and if you praise yourself, your words are empty.
Another fact regarding Ahuodi design was that when it was initially produced, it was limited in demand. But later, the demand skyrocketed which led to a common tag popularly known in Benin as ‘my dressmaker cannot buy my fabric because it is scarce and costly to get’.
As it is believed in Africa that designs are manners of communication and expressing feelings. Another color shade of the same pattern can signify distinct meaning. For example, in Ghana, the color blue of Ahuodi pattern is mostly worn by women who want to show that they are pregnant.
Basically, the wisdom behind the interpretation of Ahuodi Pankassa African wax print is to shun blowing your trumpet by yourself.
Without a doubt, it teaches humility and frowns at bragging at one’s achievement because an empty barrel makes the most noise.
Speed Bird popularly known as Air Afrique
In Africa, every design is a history to recall. This special print known as Speed Bird which has a common name, ‘Air Afrique’ is a design with symbols of focused- birds, oval shape and stripes all over it. The print reflects flying birds in the air.
Any of the symbols can be of any color yet the same print. The sole difference is that changes in colors will modify the meaning or the purpose of wearing the design.
Like every other African print with a hidden story to be unveiled, Speed Bird has different kinds of names. In Ghana, it is known as Rich today, Poor tomorrow. The name was drawn from analysis of the patterns coupled with the story behind it. The name, ‘Rich today poor tomorrow’ simply means money has wings and can fly away anytime. For the fact that one bask in riches today doesn’t guarantee its availability tomorrow.
Basically, based on the print, different cultures in Africa have different beliefs pertaining to Birds. Birds are known to symbolize change, prosperity, liberty, peace and transition.
Research showed that the name of the Bird imitated on this print design is called, ‘Swallow Bird’. Swallow Bird signifies fidelity, happiness, peace and grace.
The name “Air Afrique” was dated back to Togo because it was once used as one of the local airline uniforms. African culture is a very interesting culture in which from every art craft, there is a story behind to tell. For Speed Bird design, the moral side of the meaning is targeted towards money.
Logically, Speed Bird African print emphasizes maintaining a strict financial discipline because money is likened to a speedy bird that can fly away.
Small Star Print
Small Star Ankara print is one of the most commonly used prints in Nigeria, especially in the eastern part of the country. Most people in the country identified the design as ‘Ankara Igbo’ and this is because it is commonly used by the tribe.
Also, the meaning of this design can also be analyzed from different symbols on the fabric. What constituted the design are curly stripes, varying colors and different sizes of star. And the stars are seen to be linked together with the spiral stripes.
As a matter of fact, this same pattern and symbol but in different colors also convey additional meaning.
In the same way, the small star print is widely named,’kilikili star’ or ‘kirikiri star’ which means “small star”. Likewise, in the francophone countries of Africa, it is also known as “Petiole Ettoile” which is translated as “small star”.
The popularly known story behind Small Star design was how the king of the moonland authorized and made a mirror with an intention to make the mirror shine as the sun in the sky. Unfortunately, when it was time for the mirror to shine, the only reflection seen was that of a moon. The king was furious and had to place a curse on the mirror and destroy it.
However, pieces of broken mirror got scattered into the air and as a result, the tiny pieces started blinking and shining radiantly like stars in the sky. Consequently, the broken pieces that appeared like small shining stars brought about the name of the design: Kilikili Star.
Significantly, Small Star Print is a divulgence to seeing beauty even from broken pieces. Based on the story behind the Small Star fabric, the king was annoyed because things didn’t happen as he planned, but even in the broken pieces, people were able to see beauty.