MAIDUGURI, NIGERIA – It’s accepted by abounding names – fila, hula or yaudi. Whatever name you use, it’s still a Bama cap, a characteristic hat fabricated by the Bama bodies of Nigeria’s Borno State.
Prized beyond West Africa for their intricate embroidery, the hats are now actuality alloyed into Nigerian pop culture, beat by adolescent and old, from politicians to music celebrities.
Nigerian rapper Naeto C fabricated a beauteous appearance account back he wore a Bama cap with burghal streetwear in the music video for his 2011 hit distinct 10 over 10.
President Muhammadu Buhari is rarely apparent afterwards his Bama cap. Women are additionally agitation the style, led by artistic changeable music celebrities.The Bama bodies accept been authoritative their caps for hundreds of years, but not too abounding bodies apperceive the abounding story.
Survivors of alarm
“The Bama cap began in Yaudi, that’s the boondocks in the Bama breadth of Borno state. It was beat by the leaders of the community,” explains Ahmed Isa Ghondi.
Ghondi is a apostle of the Bama cap and has accounting up to 40 abstruse books on the tradition. But there is additionally a aphotic ancillary to the story.
Bama was about wiped out by Boko Haram, the agitated Islamic agitator accumulation that has larboard a aisle of action through northeastern Nigeria for years. Those who survived the annihilation flocked to Maiduguri. The accompaniment capital, Borno’s better burghal and bartering hub, additionally has been busted by Boko Haram’s attacks, but it is still safer than Bama.
“They’ll booty your wife,” Bama built-in Dunoma Gambo says of Boko Haram. “They’ll booty your adolescent and they’ll additionally force you into abutting them.”
Gambo able such a fate by beat to Maiduguri, area he now is allotment of a aggregate of internally displaced Bama people. They kept up their cultural attitude of bed-making Bama caps afterwards accession in the accompaniment capital, and the aggregate has flourished.
Traditional techniques and designs
“I grew up and saw bodies bed-making and that’s how I learned,” Gambo says. “You will be practicing and you will accomplish abounding mistakes, but with time, you will do it right. I’ve now been an able in it for 12 years.”
Each cap starts with a architecture arrangement that is sketched by hand, application a adjudicator and black markers.
Templates can be bought for beneath than $10. Once there’s a template, the bed-making of the cap’s abject begins. The white centerpiece on the top goes on last.
Depending on the cardinal of layers in the design, a cap can booty anywhere from two to bristles weeks to sew. Everything is done by hand.
In Maiduguri, the caps advertise for about $20. In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, they advertise for at atomic $50, and on up to $180.
The Bama caps are now accepted beyond West Africa.
Caps betoken civic unity
“The caps, they are actual strong. That’s why bodies from altered genitalia of the country buy them,” says Sani Mohammed, who catholic from Kaduna accompaniment to buy caps for his accessible wedding.
“The cap brings accord amid Nigerians,” Sani Mohammed says. Even admitting he is not from Bama, he wants to abrasion a Bama cap on his bells day.“Everyone comes here, all the tribes – from Yoruba to Igbo to non-Nigerians,” says 25-year-old Mohammed Fantami. At his appearance boutique in Abuja, he says, the Bama caps advertise out quickly, in allotment because they are a attribute of prestige.
“Wearing a cap brings respect,” Fantami says. “Between two people, if one is cutting a cap and the added is not, there is a difference. Even if you see a baby kid with a cap, you will account him.”
Once the caps access from Maiduguri, they are hand-washed and starched. Afterwards dehydration in the sun for at atomic 12 hours, the caps are apprenticed with a charcoal iron.
Bama cap apostle Ahmed Isa Ghondi wants to aggrandize the cap-making industry. He drives around, cogent bodies about what makes the caps so special.
“Because of the duke stitching, the actuality that it was fabricated by hand,” he says. “You know, the carpets in Uzbekistan are acclaimed because they are hand-stitched. So these caps charge additionally be famous.”
Men from Bama like Dunoma Gambo will abide to sew their acceptable caps in Maiduguri. They say Boko Haram fighters may accept destroyed their homes in Bama, but they accept not destroyed the Bama cap.
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