The Kanga and Zanzibar


Early images of Zanzibar women showed them draping themselves in indigenous striped fabrics.

Races of Man apx. 1880


Later, in the mid 1800's cheap imported cloth called Americani was introduced.


At first it is said that the poor wore Americani but the better off preferred Kangas. These two images show a mix of both, and demonstrate that even the poor and prisoners were starting to wear the Kanga.


Zanzibar water carriers
Zbar women prisoners


Women found the Kanga convenient for work:


Rice picking
Early Kangas
Women crushing corn. Cutinho


For Shopping:

Duka (Shop) Gomes
Hair care c1900


For Dance:


Dance April 1902
Dancers. Delord c1904
Native Dance c1920


For Fashion:


Two Arab ladies c1913


Kanga style was always forward looking and designs making a statement about the wearers modernity were popular.


modern houses and street lights apx 1900

The vibrant color and variety of wearing options is a fixture of Kanga style...

sorting cloves c 1960

... so much so that their absence on solemn occasions make these events even more memorable. 

Seyyid Abdulla bin Khalifa last procession 04-07-63_


by Barghash 2005 

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