Kuba fabrics or raffia cloths are made by the Kuba who live in the difficult to access eastern part of Congo. They are traditional wrap skirts that are traditionally worn by men, women and children for special occasions such as ceremonies and ritual dances.
Making Kuba cloth is very time consuming. The Kuba men first collect the leaves of the raffia tree and then color them with mud (for the black color) and with substances from the African sandal tree (for the red color). Then the men gently rub the raffia fibers in their hands so that they can weave them more easily. After the men have woven the fabrics, the women embroider patterns (broderies) or stuffed pieces of fabric on the cloths.
There are several groups of Kuba in the Congo. Each group has its own way of making Kuba cloth. Some make the cloth thicker and longer, others use different colors and patterns. Each pattern has a symbolic value and often a pattern has different meanings. The original Kuba cloth had no mounted pieces, perhaps the mounted pieces were later used to restore the fragile cloth.
The Kuba cloth of the cushion covers in the AfricaShop are all authentic and made for traditional use. Each cover is unique and handmade. The materials were purchased by the Dutch company Ignoti for development projects such as building schools and digging wells.