Bamenda People Atoghu Textile
African peoples express their heritage in numerous ways. Apart from the distinctive black skin of most of the continent, all sorts of rites, rituals, and traditions continue to ensure they are markedly different from Europeans, Asians, and the rest of the world.
Each region – the East, West, North and South – remains defiantly unique in its flair and style of dressing for both men and women. This implies that an African person’s attire is an indicator of where they are most likely from; a phenomenon we may call identity without cards.
As a consequence, Kente (Ghana), Aso oke (Nigeria), Atoghu (Cameroon) and other native fabrics, are found in various parts of the world especially by individuals from these countries. The focus of this piece is the Cameroonian Atoghu.
Atoghu Fundamentals – What You Need to Know
While not as common as the Kente or Aso oke, Atoghu is making significant strides in the global fashion scene. The Atoghu fabric is also simply known as “Toghu.” It is the one fabric that is identifiable with Cameroonian culture, though its history can be traced to the people of North-western Bamenda highlands in Cameroon. Ceremonies and events of all shades and motives have witnessed the creative nous that can be expressed with the Atoghu. One such event is the 2018 Earth matters, Fashion Matters fashion show and concert that featured eco-friendly fashion inspired by the Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa exhibition.
The event staged at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and fittingly, the Toghu, a most delicate and intricate hand-woven traditional garment from Cameroon earned its place. While Toghu is rapidly gaining ground in the diaspora fashion scene, it continues to impress Cameroonians and the rest of Africa.
One common place to find exquisite showcase of Toghu attire is Cameroon weddings (though Nigerian neighbors are quickly towing the same path). It is used to decorate the wedding dress as well as make other outfits. Using it at weddings is mostly fashion today, but Atoghu is traditional to the Bamenda tribe.
Diversity, African Apparel, and Atoghu
Diversity is promoted via every available voice and in every space. This has spurred creativity into a celebrated venture, providing a platform for previously unheralded African wear dresses to become the preferred choice for West-leaning individuals.
Atoghu garnered global recognition when their Olympic team became the cynosure of all eyes at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. At weddings, brides would typically don the Atoghu dress with its intense black detail and bright patterns of floral excellence. Together with the right bead accessories on her head and around her shoulders, and only one word would adequately describe her – breathtaking.
The Iconic Atoghu Statement
Atoghu is Cameroon’s most popular print. Having gone beyond the cultural landscape of the country, it’s colorful pattern of motifs playing peacefully on black velvet fabric is the fitting expression of power and royalty. This explains its copious presence at major cultural events and traditional ceremonies.
The patterns are not pointless, but have deep meaning. While designers unleash their creativity with the colors and motifs they choose, one notable design pattern is the gong, an age-long musical and communication instrument. It’s no wonder the Atoghu continues to make lasting impact everywhere it sets foot on the planet.