It will be a big surprise to many because even in West Africa lots of us has been dragging the origin of ankara between Nigeria and Ghana. It does not have an African Origin neither does it have a European Origin. Relax, read and be enlightened…
Some of us call it Ankara, some African Wax Print while some call it Batiks, Ankara was not made in Africa neither is it of African origin. The History of this wax print started in Indonesia in a place called Java.
I dont want to go down historical line, but the British first colonized java, the then British Governor at that time saw how the natives used hot wax to draw patterns on their fabrics, so he sent some pieces to Britain so that they can mechanized the process of making the patterns, the British couldn’t do it, then came the dutch, who also colonized the city, the dutch read the British governor’s books and then created a method to mechanized drawing patterns on fabrics.
The first machine-made batiks was exported from Holland to the Dutch East Indies in around 1850 and its patent, registered in 1895.
The Batik Prints and Pattern was made by Piet Snel, a dutch man in 1936 for Vlisco.
How did the fabric got to Africa
The Dutch employed some African solders between 1831 and 1872 to help them fight in Java, some of these soldiers after the war, came back to Africa with the hand made Batik print, the print grew in popularity because it was exotic and similar to our tie and dye.
Some Missionaries after seeing the popularity of the Batik prints in Africa wrote to their businessmen.
In 1893, Scottish businessman Ebenezer Brown Fleming delivered the first cargo of Dutch industrial batiks to Africa.
Because of how long batik has been with us, we all think, it is part of our culture because of the local names we give to it. The Batik Even though not African or of African origin have become part of our national pride.
Anytime you buy a batik wax, African Wax Print or Ankara, know that its origin isn’t African.