The Toghu, unique attire of Graffi culture
Hello guyz… how ?
Did you take the time to look at the background of the blog ? Do you recognize this beautiful fabric ?
This is the Toghu and I’m so pleased to tell you about it today. Let’s go.
- The origins of Toghu
- Its manufacture
- Its symbols
- The democratization of Toghu
The origins of Toghu:
Toghu fabric, whose name varies from one locality to another (Thogho, Atoghu, Talli or Danchiki), refers to a traditional clothing item originating in Bamenda, in the Northwest region.1
In 1996, the Cameroonian delegation chose this for the parade at the opening of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
On this photo, Cameroon’s track and field team wore the Toghu with pride during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
It represents one of the many treasures of Africa and particularly of Cameroon.
Its manufacture :
The toghu is a finely embroidered multicolored outfit. It is made with black velvet, on which are hand edged with patterns and ornaments in yellow, red, orange and white. The embroideries can be in several forms: diamonds, stars, suns and others… The fabric is used for the realization of large tunics and is declined nowadays in various forms (skirts, dresses, tops …).2
Its symbols :
This royal cloth was originally worn by chiefs and notables, both men and women, at weddings, traditional rites, chieftaincy investitures and festivals. The drawings of animals such as lion, or tiger, the moon and others symbolize the power and greatness of the customary chiefs.
If you look closely at this picture, you will see instruments called double-bells (or double-gongs) which are an essential instrument in traditional music orchestras among the Grassfields* people and the lamidates* of the northern region.
Over time, the use of the Toghu spread beyond the chieftaincy and the notables to also concern the people who wore it in festive circumstances. Plus, daily use has necessitated replacing velvets with lighter fabrics.
The democratization of toghu :
The designer Liz Ngwane promotes toghu through clothing and accessories in Cameroon. You can watch this short video about her work: https://youtu.be/-wDC5cppfFI
The designer Kibonen Nfi has chosen to showcase this traditional fabric internationally. If you want to know more about her and her creations :
The Cameroonian creators are more and more numerous to highlight this fabric through their creations.
This fabric is without a doubt an symbom of the Grassfields that is the pride of all those who wear it, a symbol of a very rich history and culture. By creating fashionable outfits and accessories, Cameroonians are able to keep an important part of their heritage alive and promote it.
I find it very elegant. Don’t you ?
- « Graffi » is a diminutive of « Grassfields » which refers to a vast savannah region of the volcanic highlands in western Cameroon, spread over the Northwest, South West and West regions.
- A lamidat is a traditional fulani muslim chiefdom in northern Cameroon in the Far North, North and Adamaoua regions.