The Waterwell African Print

nsu bura

This bold, circular pattern, is one of the biggest trends in African fabrics today.  I picked up this fabric two years ago at Madina Market in Accra, Ghana in a bright blue, yellow-orange combination for my sister to have a dress made for her engagement party.  Since then I have seen this pattern everywhere.  It’s actually a classic design that always makes a comeback every few years.  This time around, it’s available in such a wide variety of colours and everyone loves it.  All you have to do is take a look through Pinterest and you’ll find a wide variety of styles created using this pattern.

Most African fabrics have a story behind them and this one is no different.  Ghanaians call this fabric Nsu Bura (or spelt Nsu Bra), which is from the (Akan) Twi language in Ghana and means, waterwell.  The pattern is said to resemble the ripple effect of water when a stone is thrown into it.  In Nigeria, this print is known as Plaque-Plaque because the circular design reminds people of vinyl records.  Meanwhile the people in Togo call this cloth Target Consulaire Gbédjégan, or Gbedze.  This references the large straw hats that were traditionally worn by Royalty to protect them from the sun.

Vlisco created this design which still is popular all across the continent of Africa.
Vlisco created this design which still is popular all across the continent of Africa.

Created by Vlisco in 1936 by Mr. Piet, a Dutch fabric designer, the final design is said to be a variation of a drawing of a tie dye circle motif from 1926.  It’s amazing how a simple design from so many years ago can still be a staple in African fashion.  One of my favourite styles to see it made into is a flirty skirt.  Easy to wear to any occasion.  Just pick the right top and you can go from an office look with a blazer to a casual date paired with a tank top or t-shirt.  Ghanaian designers like Poqua Poqu have a cute flared skirt made using a contrasting fabric as trim along the hem.  Made in Ghana, if you live in Accra you could actually visit their shop in Osu.  But, if you don’t you can get your very own through the Kuwala, a website that features African fashion not only designed in Africa, but also made in the continent.

Click here to buy the skirt

Yopa Skirt by POQUA POQU. Made in Ghana.
Click here to buy the skirt!

Poqua Poqu Yopa skirt in blue.
POQUA POQU Yopa skirt in blue.

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