FabAfriq Magazine

Ndop and Atoghu: Fabrics from Cameroon to the World

You're not done hearing about these two fabrics from Cameroon. The Atoghu and the Ndop are traditional wears typical of the grass field (West and North West) regions. In an era where African clothing and accessories are getting more exposed to the global fashion scene, these unique prints are certainly amongst those to look out for.

The Ndop
'Ndop' may be a sub-division in the South West region of Cameroon, it is also the name given to this fabric from the grass field regions, especially the Bamiléké people of "Africa in miniature". The creative designs made of the attractive blue and white cotton are particularly influenced by the geographical landscape and artistry of early craftsmen of the piece. Amongst other symbolic representations of the motifs is the design of some animals, evocative of the fond relationship between this population and agriculture. The Ndop has also been revered for centuries, as it identifies with royalty and secret societies in cultures of the North-west and West region. Till date, it is amongst the most significant elements of costume and decoration at cultural events like burials and notably funerals.

Meantime, the Ndop has grown in popularity and availability with the modern prints, cheaper, less complex and easier to sew in different forms. In this light, it has gone beyond being cultural regalia to fashionable African wear.
The Atoghu
Atoghu or simply Toghu is unarguably Cameroon's most popular print. Primarily of the Northwestern Bamenda people it has graced ceremonies beyond the traditional and cultural landscape of the country to international events like the Olympic Games. Power and royalty are the ideal expressions of a colourful pattern of motifs creatively designed on black velvet fabric. Besides, this tells why it has been a regular attire for most cultural events and traditional wedding ceremonies especially. Just like the Ndop, the patterns on this regalia are not void of meaning. The gong, a metal percussion instrument fancied for communication and musical performances since centuries ago, is a notable design pattern. Notwithstanding other designers find a way to express their creativity with the motifs and colours they choose.

Modern prints of Atoghu have brought much variety to the use of the fabric as well. It is suitable to articulate costume accessories from bracelets to shoes, necklaces, earrings, bags, bow ties and more in a unique way.



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