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Can a Chinese import ever be authentically African? - African Arguments
Kitenge is made in China, but sold, worn and inscribed with meaning in Kenya. On Gaborone Road in Nairobi’s central business district, you can find at least a couple multi-storied pavilions like the Nairobi Textile Building, packed with dozens of stalls, each lined from floor to ceiling with African fabrics, their spines stacked like books in a library. These fabrics are generally referred to in Kenya as kitenge, a term that usually encompasses Dutch wax print, ankara, hollandais, and other more modern takes on traditional patterns from around the continent. The most popular brand of kitenge in Kenya – or …