"Prince of Peace" Kente Shop in Bonwire
Posted: Mar 13 2015
If you look into the Hebrew Old Testament sar shalom phrase that we know as “Prince of Peace” for answers (Isaiah 9:6), you find “Sar” is another word for “leader,” “Shalom” is another word for “peace,” and anyway you choose to define these terms, it comes down to belief in God. So, when I got to Bonwire, Ghana , the village I knew to be the heart of Kente production, on this, my second trip to Africa, I quickly knew where I wanted to shop. It was here at “Prince of Peace.” I was drawn to do business with the young man who owned this shop, Ralph Gyasi Solomon, who would name his business this way.
I did find wonderful, beautiful Kente cloth. Many lovely pieces returned to the U.S.A. with me. In addition, I have continued to buy various items that incorporate this cloth.
For those unfamiliar with kente, it is a very special cloth that you can learn much more about by checking the word “Kente” on the internet, or using your nearest library. Simply put, according to its definition in Wikipedia, Kente “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…” Kente is handwoven on looms approximately six inches wide. Symbols and color combinations found woven into the cloth have meaning. The cloth has always been considered of very high importance, sacred, and of value by the people using it.
Today, Kente is used in a variety of goods (kufis, ties, bookmarks, purses, clothing, etc.), and some are in our on-line shop.
Sometimes, the traditional cloth is reflected in a more mass-produced, light cotton print design, which is a less-costly reproduction of the more labor-intensive cloth. The print is the cloth used on this drum, and the symbol is that of a comb, a sign of beauty. She certainly is.
Although Ralph is now living in the UK with his wife, and no longer my supplier, I consider him a friend, and wish him well in his current business.
I encourage you to visit the village of Bonwire, Ghana, where many Kente shops are located. You can see crafts people weaving Kente has they always have throughout their history. Bonwire is located in the hill country of southern Ghana and approximately four hours driving time from the capital city of Accra. It is near the city of Kumasi. Kumasi, according to UN population data in the year 2000, had 1.17 million people living in the 98.07 mile square area. The village of Bonwire is small and just a short drive away.