Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Magic that is Africa

It would be easy to believe if you travel to Mozambique you would discover a place that is so full of intrigue, beauty and famine that it would take your breath away. You would be right.

Spend a few days in Maputo and you will see a handful of contradictions. From the wide avenues, tropical trees, shiny new cars and fancy seafood restaurants on Costa Del Sol to the to narrow dusty backstreets holding vibrant markets, energetic salesmen with an underlying desperation and the local chapa vans bursting at the seams with locals trying to get home.

Travelling through some of these communities, you will see many a child walking with their smaller siblings wrapped tightly into little bundles on their back made from traditional kanga fabrics. The children have a special companionship with each other, the woman treat you like old friends and the men are proud and hard working.

The way the Mozambique people dress mediates the merging of the counties contradictions, reflects the vastly differing cultures that are injected into the city and depends on the individual's economic status. In the cities, women wear Western-style dresses made from fabric with brightly colored African patterns. Women in rural areas, however, generally have kept their traditional garb of long strips of fabric that are wrapped around the body, under the arms, and over one shoulder. They have also retained the traditional head scarf or turban.

The rise of clothing and accessory collections inspired by the bright kanga fabrics and relaxed dressing of these regions has increased over the past couple of seasons. Brands including Choolips, MADE, SOKO and ASOS.COM are all getting in on the action and with sustainable fashion becoming trendier by the day, it shows no sign of slowing down. With these labels supporting communities in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania this is a positive trend that will only continue to grow.

Take the warmth that radiates from the people, the vibrant colours of their traditional dress and the colourful noisy surroundings and you have the very magical place that is Africa.

Stay tuned for more African tales......