Meaning of this Kente Cloth Design

The name of this kente cloth design is OBAAKOFO MMU MAN. It literally means "one person does not rule a nation." It describes the participatory system of governing used in the Akan system. The nine small squares stand for MPUANKRON (nine tufts of hair), ceremonial hair cut from those who help rulers make decisions. The cloth symbolizes participatory democracy and warning against autocratic rule.

This is a highly appropriate design in considering the emerging role of African-Americans in South Carolina. For most of the history of the state, African-Americans suffered in the state under autocratic rule. As they have emerged into fuller political participation the state has slowly moved toward a more participatory democracy. At the same time South Carolina has also begun to catch up with the rest of the nation on a wide variety of quality of life measures. This movement has helped all South Carolinians of all ethnic backgrounds.

More information about kente cloth and the meanings of designs.

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last updated 2/23/97


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