This Is My Church Khanga

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

To celebrate Easter this month, my intercultural church has decided to wear our "garments of praise"... aka, traditional clothing from around the world!

As a pastor, I not only represent my own culture, but I represent the cultures of people in our church, too.  The other pastors and I make it a point to wear clothing from lots of countries on such occasions in an effort to show support and appreciation for each of the cultures in our group.

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt


Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

Last Saturday evening it was my turn to preach, and this is the outfit I wore.  The skirt is a khanga from Tanzania that my mother gave me.  These khanga (or "kanga") skirts are made out of rectangular panels of fabric.  While this one is someday destined to become a dress or something, I wore it traditionally wrapped and tied for this occasion.  

An especially awesome part of khanga design is the proverb included in the design.  This Swahili saying, mungu ni mwema kwa watu wake, means "God is good to His people."  What a perfect khanga for church, right?!

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

(This is how Pentecostal preachers stand.  HA!)

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

My necklace is one of my favorite pieces, and my mother made it of beads from around the world.  The largest bead is an antique Indian piece, and the other beads are from Thailand, Egypt, and other places.  I love the colors of the lapis lazuli, and you all know how much I love chunky jewelry!  More is definitely more.

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

I topped it all with a turban.  I used a bandana as an "anchor" then wrapped a sheer black rectangle scarf on top with a twist on top.  I secured it with a couple straight pins, though it probably didn't need it.  The tight twist was very secure.

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

Flashback Summer: This Is My Church Khanga - Tanzania kanga fabric skirt

I have a couple other posts about khanga skirts/fabric if you'd like to learn more!  They're some of my favorite fabrics in the world!


Outfit Details
turtleneck: Charlotte Russe?
necklace: gifted, made by my mother
earrings: Kenya
khanga: Tanzania

What are your thoughts?  Do you like the khanga fabric pattern?  Do you have much experience with East African fabrics or outfits?

9 comments

  1. This is super awesome! LOL, on this is how Preachers stand. At my church my pastor sometimes tells funny stories/jokes as it relates to the sermon.

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  2. I love the outfit, and how wonderful that you're embracing the multi-faith and multi-cultural backgrounds of the parishioners, at a difficult time in American politics! x

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  3. This is so neat, and such a neat tradition for your church!

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  4. How absolutely beautiful! I really like the story behind your handmade necklace, too. What a fantastic way to wear some of your travel memories with you wherever you go.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Exactly! I don't have room for knickknacks! This lets me wear my memories, just as you said!

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  5. Lovely skirt. The pattern and colors are great. I think it's really cool how your church embraces cultures from around the world.

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    1. Well, we're definitely trying! It's always a learning process. There have been cultural faux pas and weird moments, but we're dedicated to figuring it out because diversity makes our church and lives so much richer!

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  6. I lived and worked in rural Angola for 3 years (10 years ago -time FLYS). The 'pano' (means 'cloth') that I bought at the beginning of my time there was MUCH more understated than the ones I was wearing by the end. :-) I wore them a bit when I got home to church, but it felt a bit odd, like wearing cutoffs to church. Also a blouse, instead of a tshirt? Wierd. :-) Now I'm working in deserty Asia and use one for summer pj bottoms.

    One of my very favorite Pano stories is from a camping trip during my time in Angola. I was wearing a pano over shorts (pockets rule!) all day. As we were sitting around the campfire eating in the dark I was called away and left my plate in my chair. When I came back I totally forgot where my food was and sat down on it. I bounced back up and whipped off my pano. The guy sitting next to me gasped and looked away quick not knowing that I had anything on under. (As if I'd have done it otherwise! Really!)

    I miss my panos. I got a couple sarongs in Thailand last year, so I'm going to have more pjs (since I can't wear them out of the house here)!

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    1. Haha, that's a very funny story! I'm going to have to look up that garment; I haven't heard of it before. Thanks for some new info!

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