S/R: Fugu/Smock weaving village; Daboya tops world ranking

The smock is one of the most distinctive dress from Northern Ghana which has gained a high level of national significance. From the moment of civilisation, man embraced an intense relationship with nature, and cotton is a basic natural product that man uses for various purposes. 

Cotton is known for its versatility, use and natural comfort. It is used to make all kinds of clothes and all kinds of materials for domestic use, as well as industrial purposes. The Cotton fibre is woven or knitted into fabrics such as the “fugu” and “Kente.” 

Within the Northern sector, Tamale, Bolgatanga, Wa,  Daboya, Yendi and its environs have a particularly strong tradition of weaving fugu.

But Daboya could be described as the most famous of Ghana’s fugu weaving communities since time immemorial in the world.

Like kente, the fabric is hand-woven but the strips are narrower and have stripes, in contrast to the geometric patterns found in kente. Nearly all of the thousands of residents of Daboya are involved in the production of fugu.

The village has developed into a fascinating site and residents are eager to share their heritage. Tour the village with a guide to see the production of fugu, from making dyes, dyeing cloth, creating designs, weaving and joining strips to finally sewing.

Daboya also offers boat tours and cruises on the White Volta River, which flows beside the village. See some of the area’s birdlife, enjoy a fishing demonstration with a hand-thrown net and visit a beach where salt is harvested, all from a hand-made boat, paddled by villagers.

The best known fugu is Daboya (meaning, “our brother is better than us”). Daboya fugus are famous for their beauty, patterns, colours, motifs, artistic appearance and texture.

The Ghanaian smock has a rich history, according to Mr Sani Dramani Iddrissu, the Headmaster of Karushegu Municipal Authority JSS and a trader in fugu. 

He said the fugu was first introduced into Ghana by the Moshies who migrated from Burkina Faso and settled in the northern part of the country and the Hausas from northern Nigeria.

Women in the North later used the local cotton to make treads, which were woven as fugu for both men and women. Fugu means cloth in Moshie language. The Dagombas call it Bingba, while people from the south prefer to call it Batakari.

Method of production

The fabric, made with cotton, is processed into threads by women.

The threads are then stretched, dyed in different colours, dried on a line for a period of time and woven into strips and stoles with hand looms.

The strips which are four inches wide are sewn together either by hand or machine.  The fugu usually has embroidery patterns on the neck, with V or U shapes cut above the chest. 

The fugu, has retained its rich traditional heritage and fulfilled customers’ demands and contemporary trends.


According to Mr Seidu Umar, who sells smocks at the Arts Centre in Accra, the social and cultural appeal of the fugu are not the only things that have attracted him into the trade, but the patronage and ready markets in Accra, for his business have also been key factors.

For Mr Yahaya Imren, a 25-year-old fugu weaver from Tamale, “lack of support from the government to promote the local weaving industry has not allowed the trade to grow. Most of us have no formal training but we learned the trade hands on,” he said.

Source: http://radiotamale.com / Robicon Mornahson

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