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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Ghana’s women ambassadors and their Kabsort

Fathia Nkrumah in her beautiful Kaba and Slit Fathia Nkrumah in her beautiful Kaba and Slit

The dumbing down of the Ghanaian Kaba with slit (Kabsort) by our women ambassadors is bad, period.

It does not depict deference, good taste and well…….class. Now shoot me!

We do not want to demoralise them, but we shall play our vanguard role as always and say what needs to be said; we do not mind if we provoke them.

Let us begin with Maame Foriwa (Foowah), my maternal grandmother and her ‘Kabsort’, a corrupted word for Kaba with slit.

I used to iron them for her as a young boy. In fact, she taught me how to iron them.

It took some time – I don’t remember how many weeks or months – before she could trust me with her Kabsort.

I remember her favourite blue Christian Mothers’ Association Kabsort with a cape which I used to iron, was placed on her coffin at the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church, Mamprobi.

It was handed over to Gloria Ekua Boham, my sister, fulfilling a church tradition that encouraged young ladies to dress modestly and decently like that, and hopefully win their membership into the association.

The Kaba with slit has the Kaba or top piece usually sewn from print cloth.

The slit was just about the same dimension as the cover cloth, except that it had bigger hemming at the edges to distinguish it.

And finally, there was a cloth sewn into a long rope about the length of the cloth, used as a cincture to fasten the slit to the waist.

When worn the Kaba was fitted but loose; not tight; same for the slit.

Any man or woman who ties a cloth to his or her waist will have a straight appearance – no curves showing.

Try it if you doubt me.

So with these tightly-sewn Kaba with slit, showing big bums, big bellies, cleavages and thighs that must be hidden; we have a “new system” and it is distasteful.

Of course, we know the Amen Corner has grown larger and more vocal; those who were trained to become leaders are sadly following the unenlightened and infra dig excesses of the rank and file.

Doesn’t advertising and branding give us something to aspire to? So there can be no populist race to the bottom in this debate.

It is a matter of pride for Ghanaian women – ladies – to wear the Kabsort.

If you were in a church women’s fellowship or attended boarding school, you learnt to wear it properly and with pride.

Yes, perhaps with a more updated silhouette, but certainly not tight – mirroring the aesthetic of skin-tight jeans…..haaba. Did you?

Can we not draw the line somewhere? Or anything and everything goes!?

PR practitioners, especially our ladies in PR, who are making a lot of noise about being PR experts, specialising in grooming and branding, must know about the Kabsort.

Given what we are seeing, of women ambassadors (women ministers are ambassadors too) dressing so badly, we know, PR in Ghana is in crisis.

These ambassadors are Ghana’s PROs going to lobby for investors within our proverbial and oft-expressed economic diplomacy agenda.

The least they can do is to ask those who know the appropriate grooming and personal branding for guidance every now and then.

An excellent example/role model is Oboshie Sai-Cofie.

I shall rest for now, phew…..

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