From Java to Africa, via your inner compass
This fabric has many globally recognised names. Perhaps the most literal is the name “dashiki”, which originated in Ghana and is derived from the words “danshiki” or “dan ciki”, meaning “shirt” in West African languages.
But the fabric has music in it too. It was introduced to the market in the 70s, in the same year that the song “Angelina”, by Ghanaian band Sweet Talks, was released. The pattern became unexpectedly associated with the song, and has gone by the name Angelina ever since. More recently, the same fabric was associated with another song: “Mascara (Ya Mado)” by Congolese singer Fabregas. In the 2014 music video, you can see dancers wearing shirts in the so-called Ya Mado print in various color combinations.
This pattern is connected to one more prominent music figure: the late singer and activist Miriam Makeba, who was an important advocate for civil rights and black feminism. She wore many African prints in her lifetime, and was often seen in this one.
the maakola meaning
The Fire Compass
Of all the names given to this fabric, we love Water Well, which comes from Ghana. The name references the ripple effect that you see when you throw a stone into a body of water — a reminder that every action you take will have an effect on the people around you. It’s a message that we take to heart at Maakola, where we believe that the clothes you wear have a social, economic and environmental impact.
At Maakola, we see the bold shape at the center of this fabric as the needle of a compass: a symbol of every woman’s strong sense of intuition. The compass represents a woman’s natural strength, allowing her to make everyday choices and strong decisions from a place of wisdom.