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Wax is used nowadays to make traditional outfits, to carry children on the back, but also to decorate the house or to create sportswear outfits. Wax is more fashionable than ever! Sometimes considered retro by the young African generation, sometimes unknown to other continents, it is now increasingly valued by dynamic designers and is becoming "trendy" in Africa and elsewhere.

It was at the end of the 19th century that Wax made its appearance in Africa. Today, it is an integral part of daily life and everyone agrees that it is one of the symbols of African "identity".


If the Wax are originally fabrics made in the Netherlands and England, of Indonesian inspiration, their value, in Africa, comes from the stories created by the Nana Benz of Togo and West Africa. These Nana Benzes invented slogans inspired by the patterns of the Wax they sold. Even today, they continue to invent new ones, which customers quickly adopt. It is a whole iconographic language that has been created, made up of symbols, colors, slogans...


We offer the Wax for the dowry, we pass it on as an inheritance to our children, we use it as a communication tool within families.


Present since the origins, certain so-called “classic” motifs have become essential, thanks in particular to the success of their messages.


Conveyed orally, the names given to Wax patterns resist time and are truly part of our heritage. It has now become essential to identify them in order to inscribe them in the collective memory.


“Wax Stories” is not intended to make an exhaustive inventory of the subject, knowing that the same motif can have a different meaning in each country, in French, in English, but also in the local language. We have mentioned a few, which we collected on the markets, with the Nana Benz, or by calling on testimonials. The list is still long…


And you ? Do you speak Wax?


Our thanks go to Vlisco and the Wax Vlisco traders of the Dantokpa market for their support in the realization of this project.

#waxstories  #waxithenewblack

To read the Wax Stories book, click on the book icon
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