Learning Activity Five: Kente Cloth
1. Divide the class into three research groups. Each group
will be responsible for learning a different aspect of kente
cloth. After they have gathered their assigned information,
they will be expected to teach the rest of the class. Each
group will be asked to read a different section of the
following Web site at:
Group One: Historical Background
2. Share the following excerpt from the Web site which
explains the different symbolic meanings of the colors used
in kente. Have each student choose his or her own color for
the kente placemat creation activity that follows.
Question: What is the historical and legendary background of
Group Two: Materials and Techniques
Question: How is kente made?
Group Three: Aesthetics and Usages
Question: What does kente represent? What is it used for?
YELLOW in all its variations is associated with the yoke of
the egg, ripe and edible fruits and vegetables and also with
the mineral gold. In some spiritual purification rituals
mashed yarn is rendered yellow with oil palm and served with
eggs. It symbolizes sanctity, preciousness, royalty, wealth,
spirituality, vitality and fertility.
Visit the following Web site and choose one of the activities
listed (paper weaving, making a loom and cotton spinning):
PINK is associated with the female essence of life. It is
viewed as red rendered mild and gentle, and therefore
associated with tenderness, calmness, pleasantness, and
sweetness. According to Akan social thought, these attributes
are generally considered as essential aspects of the female
RED is associated with blood, sacrificial rites and the
shedding of blood. Red-eyed mood means a sense of
seriousness, readiness for a serious spiritual or political
encounter. Red is therefore used as a symbol of heightened
spiritual and political mood, sacrifice and struggle.
BLUE is associated with the blue sky, the abode of the
Supreme Creator. It is therefore used in a variety of ways to
symbolize spiritual sanctity, good fortune, peacefulness,
harmony and love related ideas.
GREEN is associated with vegetation, planting, harvesting and
herbal medicine. Tender green leaves are usually used to
sprinkle water during purification rituals. It symbolizes
growth, vitality, fertility, prosperity, fruitfulness,
abundant health and spiritual rejuvenation.
PURPLE is viewed in the same way as maroon. It is considered
as earth associated with color used in rituals and healing
purposes. It is also associated color used in rituals and
healing purposes. It is also associated with feminine aspects
of life. Purple cloths are mostly worn by females.
MAROON has a close resemblance to red-brown which is
associated with the color of Mother Earth. Red-brown is
usually obtained from clay and is therefore associated with
healing and the power to repel malevolent spirits
WHITE derives its symbolism from the white part of the egg
and from white clay used in spiritual purification, healing,
sanctification rites and festive occasions. In some
situations it symbolizes contact with ancestral spirits,
deities and other unknown spiritual entities such as ghosts.
It is used in combination with black, green or yellow to
express spirituality, vitality and balance.
GREY derives its symbolism from ash. Ash is used for healing
and spiritual cleansing rituals to re-create spiritual
balance when spiritual blemish has occurred. It is also used
in rituals for protection against malevolent spirits. Grey is
therefore associated with spiritual blemish but also with
SILVER is associated with the moon which represents the
female essence of life. Silver ornaments are usually worn by
women and are used in the context of spiritual purification,
naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies and other community
festivals. It symbolizes serenity, purity and joy.
GOLD derives its significance from the commercial value and
social prestige associated with the precious mineral. Gold
dust and gold nuggets were used as medium of exchange and for
making valuable royal ornaments. It symbolizes royalty,
wealth, elegance, high status, supreme quality, glory and
BLACK derives its significance from the notion that new
things get darker as they mature; and physical aging comes
with spiritual maturity. The Akans blacken most of their
ritual objects to increase their spiritual potency. Black
symbolizes an intensified spiritual energy, communion with
the ancestral spirits, antiquity, spiritual maturity and
http://www.african craft.com /educ/ index.htm
3. Display students' projects.
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| Learning Activity Six: A Dramatic
In this activity, students will listen to a folktale, create
a script based on the tale, make costumes, create a set, and
choose music to enhance the production. They will then enact
1. As a class, choose one of these folk tales as the basis
for your production.
2. Work as a class to write a script. Include the varied
elements that students have learned throughout the lesson in
the production. Try to use as much dialogue as possible.
3. Discuss the varied parts of a dramatic production. Ask
the students to choose a group that they would like to work
in. The groups should consist of set builders, costume
designers, music and lighting effects, and performers.
Set Builders: This group should draw out their plans on paper prior to building. Give the students access to
appropriate building materials, such as heavy cardboard,
construction paper, glue and staples. The set should
reflect the colors and images of Africa based on what
students have learned.
Costume Designers: These students should be responsible
for researching the dress customs throughout Africa
before they design and create costumes. Visit the
following sites for inspiration:
Music & Lighting: This group should draw upon the
resources of the lesson which included listening to
selections of African music and reading books that
describe different aspects of African culture, as they
create musical and lighting effects to enhance the mood
of the performance.
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