A Comparative Study of Daboya (Ghana) and Abeokuta (Nigeria) Local Dyeing

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Ghanaians and Nigerians practice similar forms of local dyeing. Daboya local dyers of Northern Ghana among the Gonjas of North Gonja district and Yoruba indigo dyers of Abeokuta in South Western Nigeria are famous in the local dyeing industry in West Africa. Locally dyed products such as the Daboya smock (fugu), kuntunkuni and badie suffer in terms of fastness to abrasion, light and wash unlike Abeokuta locally dyed products that have good fastness to abrasion, light and wash and are internationally patronised. These deficiencies have led to the decline in patronage of local dyeing products in Ghana. The study seeks to comparatively identify fabrics, yarns, plant dyes, and methodology used in Daboya and Abeokuta local dyeing industries, and to carry out experiments on methodology derived from the studies to help improve upon Daboya local dyeing in terms of fastness to abrasion, light and washable. The scope of the study covered selected dyeing groups in Daboya and Abeokuta in Ghana and Nigeria respectively. The study adopted the qualitative research method and employed descriptive and experimental research designs. Visitations were made to Daboya and Abeokuta in Nigeria. Observations and interviews were carried out on practical activities on yarns, fabrics, plant dyes and methodologies used by both towns under study. Results from studies revealed that the methods for dyeing, dye extraction and resist techniques for both towns can be adopted interchangeably to achieve a good fastness to abrasion, light and washing to Daboya locally dyed fabrics. For the sustenance of the industry, it is recommended that Daboya local dyers incorporate various resist dyeing method of fabrics, to help bring diversity in their profession and to improve their economic status and the nation as a whole. In addition, research institutions such as Council for Scientific and Industrial Research should come together with government organizations to improve upon the cultivation of indigo plants, local dye extraction for local dyeing processes.
A thesis submitted to the school of graduate studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Kumasi, In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Integrated Art.