A kanzu is a white or cream coloured robe worn by men in the African Great Lakes region. It is referred to as a tunic in English, and as the Thawb in Arab countries. The kanzu is an ankle or floor length garment. It serves as the national costume of Tanzania as well as the Comoros, where it is called/pronounced 'Kandu' as well as thawb. The robe is also worn in some coastal Muslim regions of Tanzania and Kenya. The men of Uganda in Uganda consider it their most important dress. Kanzu is a Ganda word of Swahili origin, which means "robe" or "tunic". In Tanzania, the term is used interchangeably with kaftan.

The Kiganda/Ugandan kanzu was introduced to the Buganda Kingdom by Arab traders. Kabaka Ssuuna was the first Kabaka of Buganda to wear the kanzu. After the Kabaka adopted the attire it became the formal wear of all Baganda men. The kanzu spread from the Baganda people to other ethnicities and is a national costume of Baganda men. (The Republic of Uganda has no national costume for men).

It is a variation of the Arabic thobe. Originally, the kanzu was made from barkcloth. Today the kanzu is made from silk, cotton, poplin, or linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive. The main difference between the kanzu and the Arabic thobe is the design.

The traditional kanzu has maroon embroidery around the collar, abdomen, and sleeves. The embroidery is called the omulela. The major center of kanzu knitting and production is Mende, Uganda.

The kanzu is worn at wedding ceremonies during the introduction, also known as the Kwanjula. During the Kwanjula the groom's family is required to appear dressed in kanzu and they must also present a kanzu to the bride's family.

The kanzu is worn with a suit jacket, blazer, or sport coat. It is customary for important persons to wear the kanzu with a black bisht. Traditional attire for women in Baganda is the Gomesi.

This page was last edited on 6 December 2017, at 02:49.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanzu under CC BY-SA license.

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