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Kangas: A garment for women from East Africa

A kanga is a large cotton cloth worn by women from along the whole of the East African coast, especially in Kenya, Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar. Its characteristic feature is the short text printed on the cloth. Kangas are also worn by some women in Oman, due to long standing, historical connections between the various countries. Kangas and similar garments have been part of the East African, Swahili dress code since the late 19th century. There they are still regarded as an essential item of a woman’s wardrobe. They are worn on a daily basis in and around the home, as well as for important occasions such as weddings and funerals. But their designs, colours and texts are not static. They are constantly being modified and adapted to the current political and economic situation and customer demands.

  • Contents: The exhibition includes 23 examples of kangas from Kenya, Zanzibar and Oman, as well as photographs and a text explaining the history, designs, texts and social functions of the kanga.
  • Availability: This exhibition was on display in the TRC from 14th November 2009 until the 28th February 2010. It is now available for loan.

TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Gallery exhibition, 3 April - 29 June: From Kaftan to Kippa

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

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Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
 
Financial donations can also be made via Paypal: