Traditional weaving is in crisis in Senegal, but in Soumbédioune Dakar market, the weavers are bracing up to overcome several obstacles in order to sustain their profession.
Unavailability of location to weave these assorted loincloths inspired by tradition, decline in sales of the modernized textile, or high cost of wires are among other difficulties faced by these Senegalese weavers.
A weaver from Guinean Bissau based in Dakar, Nanki Kambanta said the traditional weaving fabric is fast loosing its touch.
Before, our mothers dressed with the woven loincloths but the generation of today is no longer interested in the loincloth woven fabric.
“Before, our mothers dressed with the woven loincloths but the generation of today is no longer interested in the loincloth woven fabric. It is hard for us because we do not have a fixed place to work and people are hurt. It is a noble profession with lesser risk but people are not paying attention to it,” he said.
In search of a solution to bring customers to the image, a weaver, Ousmane Camara based at the center of the city of Dakar, said they are trying to instill a modern touch to the sector.
“I do a lot of accessories with the loincloth woven, I creates bags, sleeves, hats, bedspreads, tables clothes, fabrics for sofas, the cushions. I do not create bad things with the loincloth woven fabric. I have seen the importance of this profession, because I get to meet the need of my family, I am known in the art market in Senegal and I also participate in several exhibitions in the world,” he said.
In 2003, Senegalese government established an agency for the promotion and development of handicrafts. Government said, it was a means of promoting the sector and the economy of the country.
“We are fully aware of the importance the sector such as the weaving which contributes greatly to boost our exports. Weaving is classified as an activity of top range, in the framework of the new developmental plan of Diamniadio, an important site was dedicated to the craft,” said Coordinator, Agency for the promotion and development of handicrafts,Ferdinand Diop.
Despite the difficulties it encounters, the industry remains the mark of a cultural attachment and identity in Senegal and in several African countries.
Dating back to the 15th century, Senegal had a tradition of textile weaving and dyeing as rich as the fabrics themselves.