Kente, known as nwentom in Akan, is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and is native to the Akan ethnic group of South Ghana.
Kente is made in Akan lands such as Ashanti Kingdom, (Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, Ntonso in the Kwabre areas of the Ashanti Region) and by Akans in Ivory Coast. It is also worn by many other groups who have been influenced by Akans.
It is the best known of all African textiles. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means basket in Akan dialect Asante. Akans refer to kente as nwentoma, meaning woven cloth. It is an Akan royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans.
The Ewe people especially those from Agortime-Kpetoe of Ghana also claim that Kente which they also refer to as Agbamevor has always been their traditional cloth. According to their history weaving was the skill they came with when they migrated from Egypt through Nigeria to their present location in Ghana. Per the oral history of the people, during the Ashante wars they captured some of their men who were skilled in the weaving of Agbamevor.
These captured men were asked by their captors (Ashantes) to teach them how to weave Agbamevor; the Ewe kente experts instruct them to “Ke” meaning spread or open in the Ewe language, pass the waft through, and “Te” meaning tighten or press also in Ewe. For that reason, the Ewes believe that the name Kete originates from the method used to weave such cloths which are also the same name that has been corrupted into kente, as time goes on.
Cinema Culture Society of Ghana