Wax is used nowadays to make traditional outfits, to carry children on the back, but also to decorate the house or to create sportswear. Wax is more than ever in fashion! Sometimes considered as retro by the young African generation, sometimes unknown to other continents, it is today more and more valued by dynamic designers and becomes "trendy", in Africa and elsewhere.
Wax first appeared in Africa at the end of the 19th century. Today, it is an integral part of daily life and everyone agrees that it is a symbol of African "identity". The wax is a means of communication
If loincloths were originally made in the Netherlands and England, inspired by Indonesia, their value in Africa comes from the stories created by the Nana Benz of Togo and West Africa.
The Nana Benz invented slogans inspired by the Wax designs they sold. Even today, they continue to invent new ones, which customers quickly adopt. A whole iconographic language was created, made of symbols, colors, slogans... Names are given according to the social or political context, for example a political event that takes place at the time of the release of the pattern, the arrival of an important personality in the country, a rumor about the president, etc. The Wax is a real memory of past events. It is a means of communication in its own right, allowing women, for example, to silently express what they think to their husbands or co-wives. It evokes themes of daily life, objects present in African society, it also expresses wishes for prosperity, wealth... Wax has invaded all areas of life: religion, politics, daily life, family relations, etc.
Present since the origins, some so-called "classic" motifs have become essential, thanks in particular to the success of the messages they convey. A transmission from generation to generation Traditionally, Wax is offered for the dowry. On this occasion, the choice of the patterns is very important because it is symbolic of the respect of the husband for the family of the future bride. It is not uncommon for these Waxes to be kept and passed on from mother to daughter. The loincloth, its history, its meanings and its financial value are passed on. The Wax is an inheritance. Passed on orally, the names of the Wax patterns resist time and are truly part of the heritage.
It has become essential today to record the meanings of Wax in order to inscribe them in the collective memory.