African clothing history for kids

Kidipede is a history and science encyclopedia for kids, with more than 2000 pages of expert answers to your questions.

Clothing - Africa for Kids

masai cape
Masai leather cape with glass trade beads from India,
from north-eastern Africa (ca. 1000 AD)

The very earliest people in Africa all went naked. But soon, about 180,000 years ago, there was an Ice Age, and people started to wear fur and feather capes to keep warm.

bark cloth
Bark cloth from the Congo, in central Africa

Furs and feathers were good enough for thousands of years, but then people began to make lighter, less sweaty kinds of clothes out of pounded bark fibers. You peel the bark off trees and pound it with a rock until the fibers get soft and the hard part breaks off. This makes small pieces of cloth which can be pounded or sewn together.

Advanced version from
Later African clothing

Bibliography and further reading about African cloth and clothing:

Traditional African Costumes Paper Dolls, by Yuko Green (1999).

African Girl and Boy Paper Dolls, by Yuko Green (1997).

African Textiles, by John Gillow (2003). Not for kids.

Later African clothing
Kidipede - History for Kids home

Copyright 2012-2014 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated 2014. Powered by Dewahost.

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