The women in Malawi use a national dress that consists of a wrap skirt called a chitenje, which is made of a length of fabric between 4 and 6 yards. They sometimes make a blouse and headdress out of the same material. The design of the fabric is as colorful and unique as the smiles of Malawian women, and the wrap provides much in a woman’s daily life. They sparked this reflection …
My chitenje – the fabric of my life.
I wear it with pride expressing my individual style through the colorful design – but it is so much more than a piece of clothing.
I carry new life in my chitenje – my new child hugs close to my body as I wrap her over my shoulder.
I carry the substance of life in my chitenje – I take goods and products to and from the market wrapped and carried on my head in order to support my family.
I carry a message in my chitenje – as a home-based care volunteer serving those stricken ill by HIV/AIDS a message of my work is dyed into the wrap I wear.
I carry my identity in my chitenje – it is the fabric that weaves through my life as a Malawian girl, daughter, young woman, sister, wife, mother, aunt, granny.
Photo by Amanda Craft