The head wrap originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and was often used to convey modesty, spirituality and prosperity. Even men in Africa wear head wraps to symbolize wealth and social status. Head wrapping is literally a way that African’s for centuries have been able to non-verbally communicate their place in life.
The head wrap of a woman walking down the street will tell you if she’s a widow, a grandmother, or if she’s a married young woman. It’s an element in the daily living of an African woman. Head wraps also serve a practical function in protecting the head from the rays of the sun. In West Africa, head wraps are referred to as ‘gele’ in Yoruba or ‘ichafu’ in Ibo.
The African head wrap has become a symbol of exoticism and a cultural fashion statement for decades here in the U.S. Beautiful and versatile, each head wrap gives someone a chance to express their heritage and their love of African fashion. However, there is much more to the head wrap than the beautiful colors and fascinating style; there is a rich cultural history.