HomeFashionWhy ancient Africans were naked and didn't care about 'decency'

    Why ancient Africans were naked and didn't care about 'decency'

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    The First Lady of Nigeria, Remi Tinubu, proudly declared that nakedness is not in our culture, but is this true?

    Clothes in Africa were not for decency. They were meant to show status or the type of ceremony happening.

    Why ancient Africans were naked

    1. Hot weather

    The hot weather in most parts of Africa, especially West Africa, did not allow them to be fully covered. Women wore wrappers around their waists or breasts, and men wore aprons or loincloths.

    2. Nudity was normal

    The fact that most popular African sculptures were nude represents the culture of the period. Also, many festivals in Nigeria and South Africa feature naked women to show the acceptance of nudity.

    3. Clothes were ceremonial

    Jewellery and dress codes were important indicators of social class, gender, and culture. Most people wore minimal clothing to protect their private parts, only elders were fully clothed.

    When people travelled, their clothing conveyed their position or served as a symbol of a ceremony. When they got married, young women and men would dress in skirts and dresses that covered their entire bodies but it was not for every day interaction.

    The influence of colonialism

    Europeans viewed African dressing or lack of it as barbaric. European morality was based on Christian ideas of modesty, and covering one’s body was the European definition of modesty.

    African clothing was strongly disliked because of this mentality, particularly on the part of women who were overtly sexualized, and scrutinised.

    Around the turn of the fifteenth century, shipping lanes connecting Europe, Africa, and the East opened increasing trade influence. Africans embellished native fabrics with rare objects they wanted from far and wide, such as buttons, shells, and beads.

    Africans started wearing fabrics like this after colonialism [dailyupdate]

    With the advancement of weaving processes, fibres such as wool, raffia, cotton, and silk were utilised. Textiles that were woven and embellished grew to represent a tribe’s social standing, status, and culture.

    ALSO READ: 5 awesome ancient African beauty practices

    African wax prints were never indigenous to us. Wax prints, popularly known as ankara which are synonymous with African fashion today found their way to Africa in the 19th century especially during the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia.

    In conclusion there was nothing like indecency in Africa culture, it was a foreign concept imported by colonialism.

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