The Dashiki is a loose pullover shirt made from a variety of light fabric. This often embroidered v-neck garment is a symbol of strength, change and pride in blackness.
Historically, the dashiki was worn by west African men as a work tunic because the breathable fabric was the best to work in due to the intense heat in those parts of Africa. Fast forward to 2019 and it is now a unisex garment, with women tailoring it into mini and maxi dresses as well.
It was made famous by those of African descent during the Civil Rights and Black Panther Movements of the 1960s and early 70s as a symbol of the rejection of western cultural norms imposed on them.
The iconic Nelson Mandela was famous for only wearing dashiki shirts. He broke down cultural barriers and meaningless institutions by attending important meetings and events with royals, presidents and other dignitaries wearing these shirts with pride and confidence. Nelson Mandela not only started an important conversation on racial and cultural equality but also brought himself closer to people and successfully effecting change where ever he went.
The dashiki has also had a great impact on pop-culture as African-Americans wear it as reclamation of their African roots and to affirm their political and racial struggles as people of colour. It has also become common apparel worn during black history month celebrated annually.
This simple but vibrant piece of clothing carries great weight as an original African creation and a symbol of black pride all over the world.