Africa is unarguably rich in traditional and cultural diversity. And when it is has to do with a grand event like traditional weddings, Africans always go all out to make the occasion as memorable as possible. Fascinating sights from dancing camels in Niger Republic to dance-offs in South Africa and henna ceremonies in Kenya and Tanzania, African wedding traditions exudes in various shapes and forms. These narrations however reflect the rich diversity of the African continent.
Burkina Faso ‘the land of honest people’ is a West African country that doesn’t joke with her culture and tradition. With about sixty ethnic and linguistic groups that make up the formerly called ‘Upper Volta’, Burkinabes (people from Burkina Faso) highly believe their cultural pride lies in national traditional attire. This is not always underestimated.
At traditional weddings in Burkina Faso, people usually deck themselves out in their best clothes, by buying pagnes and other clothing. As for the groom and bride, they both go all out for assorted accessories to make fashion statement on their big day. Customarily, traditional weddings in the country often last between 3 and 5 days, or even a week.
In their poise to uphold the glory and culture of their country, Burkinabes always stun their traditional weddings in a Faso Dan Fani attire. This dress is regarded as Burkina Faso’s national cloth. In clearer terms, Faso Dan Fani simply means “woven cloth of the homeland”. All these words are are in Dioula: Fani means cloth/wrapper, Dan means woven, and Faso means homeland. It is locally FDF in Burkina Faso.
This Faso Dan Fani is a local woven cotton cloth made in the landlocked country. However, a cotton-based textile isn’t a new addition to this series. Burkina Faso boasts as one of the largest producers of cotton in Africa. According to an article by Africa News, “over 90 percent of its output was classed as high quality long- or medium-staple by the country’s cotton companies.” (The length of the fibre is a quality indicator).
Neither is a fabric that is weaved on a loom nor made up of several strips combined together. Its connotation is what makes this cloth originally special.
“To wear the Faso Dan Fani is an economic, cultural and political act of defiance to imperialism,” said Thomas Sankara in 1986. ”In every village in Burkina Faso, we know how to grow cotton. In all the villages, women know how to spin cotton, men know how to weave this thread in loincloths and other men know how to sew these loincloths in clothes. We must not be a slave to what others produce.”
With the trend and awareness this traditional cloth is gaining, especially as it always donned in at Burkina Faso traditional weddings to look fabulous for the occasion, they started the Dan Fani Fashion week that is dedicated to the Burkinabe woven cloth. This started as a gear to encourage local and African designers to use the faso dan fani.
The Marka people of Burkina Faso are chiefly the makers of faso dan fani, a tradition-based indigo textile woven from cotton, kapok, and indigenous silk called tuntun. Their thread is always hand-spun, dyed, and woven on double-heddle looms into sets of striped cloth.