The meaning behind the colours in African Culture - Sika’a
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May 24, 2021 3 min read

If you are familiar with African clothing, you may have noticed that the designs are rich, vibrant and colourful creations that shine. However, you may not be aware that colours are extremely symbolic in Africa and every colour that is used in African fabrics has a deep history behind it. In this article, we will explore the true meanings behind the colours, what each colour represents and why this multitude of colours is so important in African culture.

The significant of colours in African culture

In African culture, colours inherently have a symbolic nature in a variety of areas, including when rich and vibrant colours are used in African fabrics and African clothing. Colours can represent a variety of emotions, traditions and victories in the wake of struggles. For centuries, Africa has experienced turmoil followed by liberation and this is reflected in the colours that are intrinsic to African life. For example, the various African nations' flags are some of the most colourful of any continent.

The combination of reds, blacks, greens, whites and blues that are commonly found on the flags of African countries each have their own symbolic meaning that is crucial to the citizens of every respective country. In the fashion industry, the symbolism of colour is no less effective. African designers often use an array of colours and patterns to represent various states of energy and emotions that the wearer may experience. Colours have greatly impacted African clothing and both the traditional and modern African fashion industries as the meanings of colours have gradually evolved throughout history to create the rainbow of designs that are on offer today. When you understand the true meanings behind the variety of African colours, you can choose the ideal fabrics, patterns and colour combinations that will suit any specific occasion.

Warm colours

Warm colours can make beautiful African outfits. They incorporate reds, oranges, purples and yellows and they are extremely bright and vibrant. African colour combinations often engage these colours to make stunning outfits. The use of oranges, reds and purples in dresses can not only look incredible, but they also have profound meaning behind them. Warm colours a often used in Western Africa such as with the fabrics Berber, Bogolan and Aso Oke.

Purple

African fashion often uses purple to symbolise the essence of femininity. It is a deep and rich colour that represents the strong and beautiful nature of womanhood.

Yellow and gold

Yellow and gold can have a variety of symbolic meanings, including wealth and riches, spiritual purity, fertility, beauty and the precious nature of life.

Cool colours

Cool colours include blues and greens and they are often representative of nature in African cultures. However, each individual colour has its own specific meaning in African clothing. They are found in abundance in Sika'a's Christine collection to represent emotions such as harmony, peace and love.

Blue

Blue is the colour of harmony and love, symbolising the importance of peace and togetherness. It is often used in combination with other colours to create a rich tapestry of energy that has deep symbolism behind it. Blue fabrics are widely used in the Southern countries of Africa such as the Leteisi and Shweshwe. 

 

Green

Green is a natural colour that demonstrates growth. It can relate to the spiritual growth and development of an individual as well as the growth that takes place in nature, such as the agricultural rebirth of the land as the crops begin to bloom with a new season.

Neutral colours

African textiles commonly symbolically use neutral colours like white, black, grey and silver. Many of these colours are found in Sika'a's Femme Essence collection and they are interwoven with other symbolic colours from both the warm and cool shades of the colour wheel. Neutral colours are often used within central Africa incorporated in the fabrics Ankara and Kuba Raffia. 

 

White

White is the colour of purity. It represents cleansing and is often worn for festive occasions. It has an innocence to it that is representative of its pureness.

Black

Often used for mourning, black has profound spiritual energy. The darkness of the colour can also represent other meanings too, such as maturity.

Silver

Silver is an extremely peaceful colour that has associations with the moon. It represents a range of emotions like joy and peace.

Why choose Sika'a?

At Sika'a, our intricate and vibrant designs use African colours to represent the true meanings behind them. Our affordable sustainable brand is committed to ensuring that African traditions are represented through beautiful aesthetics. We use sustainable sourcing to ensure that our African print clothes are made using ethical manufacturing techniques and are designed by genuine African designers. To browse our beautiful collection of affordable sustainable fashion, please visit us at Sika'a.


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