The vibrant and colourful African head wrap is a unique part of the African culture history. Worn proudly by men and women in different parts of Africa, the cloth represents the love of our heritage to the fullest. Depending on which part of Africa you come from, an individual can express their personalities through its artistic manipulation. Ancient Queens and Kings of Egypt, Nubia and West Africa were known for their regal head dress.


Sadly in the slavery days, the slave masters categorised the wearing of head wrap to poverty and inferiority. It quickly became mandatory for enslaved women on plantations to wear head wrap and hats imposed on men. Slave masters used this to inculcate servitude and utmost submission amongst their slaves. It is interesting to know that the head wrap was worn with great sense of pride in Africa and yet a sense of oppression for those millions of slaves across Europe, Caribbean and the United States.

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In modern times, head wrap differ than others depending on what part of Africa you lived in. In terms of where you lived, different groups of people or tribes have different ways of dressing their wraps. Popularly known as Gele in Yoruba or Ichafu in Ibo, each African nation has its own name and story to tell.  Though the head wrap is seen as a great fashion accessory and has been embraced by people from different ethnic background. However women in Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Malawi and other West and South African countries consider it to be a cultural expression that symbolizes one of many things: Prosperity, spirituality, modesty, sex, wealth, or social and marital status.

1, The head wrap typically covers the hair completely. One cultural significance about the African head wrap is that African women typically secure the wrap using a knot at the base of the crown which leaves the neck and forehead exposed. Part of the reason for this is to make the facial features appear striking so that anyone that wishes to look upon an African American woman would look up at her face rather than down at her body.

2, African head wraps come in many bright bold colours that animate the face.

Fun Fact
3, The head wrap has become a staple of traditional black dress; arrays of wonderful head wraps, fashionably worn at special events, have now become a fashion statement for the black woman.

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References: Catherine Henderson (History of the African Head Wrap via

Makeup & Styling: Princess Amayo
Photographer: Huget Photography
Retouchers: Huget Photography | Amanda Brown
Modelled by ReneZoe and Hana London