The Black Student Achievement program of Oakland Mills High is offering the African American Heritage Kente Stoles that can be worn during graduation at a cost of $23.00. You are now able to purchase these stoles via credit or debit card by going online to the HCPSS Online School Payment (OSP) website at:
History of Kente
Its origins date back to 12th century Africa, in the country of Ghana, where it is primarily produced. The Kente Cloth was worn by Kings, Queens, and important figures of state in Ghana's society, and was often reserved for special occasions or royalty. Kente cloth creation roots in a long tradition of African weaving, dating back to about 3000 B.C. Traditional Kente cloth is a work of art, visually portraying the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious beliefs, social values, moral values and political thoughts in African culture. No two cloths would be identical.
Wearing Kente cloth during graduation ceremonies and special occasions took hold here in the US in the 1970s as a visual representation of pride in one’s African Heritage. According to Akan traditional protocol, Kente is reserved for very important and special social or religious occasions. It maybe used as a special gift item during such rites and ceremonies as child naming, coming of age, graduation, and marriage. It may also be used as a symbol of respect for the departed souls during burial rites and ancestral remembrance ceremonies.
Kente is a meaningful sartorial device, as every aspect of its aesthetic design is intended as communication. The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = fertility, green = renewal, blue = pure spirit/harmony, red = passion, black = union with ancestors/spiritual awareness. Kente cloth sheets are assembled out of sewing together long strips or bands of fabri. Each one of these bands are themselves composed of panels of alternating designs. Each weaver creates this patchwork appearance through a complex interplay of the warp (the threads pulled left to right during weaving) and weft (threads oriented up and down).
When Black students wear Kente stoles as a sign of their successful matriculation through higher education, they transform their bodies into living, breathing proverbs.