The Fabric War: The dominance of Wax in the African textile market

    We all wear clothes not only to dress ourselves, but to express our style and identity to the public. Just as cotton, denim or polyester are used as materials for clothing, Wax has also become a well-known ‘African’ material. In this article, the origin of wax and its application are examined. The assumption that Wax encompasses the entire range of African materials and also originated on the continent is widespread. But the origin of Wax does not solely lie on the African continent. Before Wax first appeared in Ghana in 1893, it was mainly the joint history between Europe, West Africa and Asia that made the material tangible. It was primarily Indonesian batik, that is considered the predecessor of present-day Wax. However, this connection and the inspiration which came from the Indonesian ‘sarong’ is largely forgotten these days.

    Notice: An initial version of the article has been published within the Global History Master Programm. Read the full paper on

    About the author:

    <strong>Yao Sodjadan</strong>
    Yao Sodjadan

    MA in AfricanHistory and development politics. He is member of AP Management Board and Experts pool

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