Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Like the Kente, the Manjak is also a woven African fabric. Its name is derived from the Manjak community who is interspersed between the West African countries of Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Cape Verde and The Gambia.
The weaving of the Manjak dates back to the 15th century when the Manjak weavers were taken captive by the Portuguese. The weaving process is done by men only and is sadly fading as young men complain that it is hard work and little pay and therefore forego this for other work that pays better.
The Manjak is strips of handwoven cloths (20cm wide by 200cm long) using commercially spun polyester and then sewn together into a larger cloth which is worn as a wrapper. The value of this fabric isn’t in the technique only, but in its ceremonial use too as it marks important rites of passage in a person’s life.
In the modern-day, it is used in home décor and fashion design.