Wrapper Tying:Our African Heritage


I know that a lot of women both married and unmarried can relate with the tying of wrapper in this part of the world (Nigeria). It’s our culture as African women to tie wrapper, even the men do. For instance, in the southern part of Nigeria, men tie wrapper even though it’s some sort of a general belief that tying of wrapper is for the female folk.

In the 70s and 80s, women long to get to the age of tying wrapper(I mean,grown enough for it to fit). Women from the northern part start tying wrapper as early as their childhood. Women of marriageable age pray to ‘have a body that would fit tying wrapper, meaning that women would prefer to be chubby than being slim because it’s a visible fact that tying wrapper fits the former better. During marriage ceremonies, a man is known to be able to take care of his wife by the number of wrappers he buys her as tradition requires. The woman on her part immediately starts wearing these wrappers to show how well her husband is taking care of her. In fact, the type of wrappers you wear or have in your box shows how wealthy your husband is or how successful you are if single.

If you tie your wrapper at home or to go buy stuff around your neighbourhood, to church or social gatherings it didn’t matter back then, in fact, it showed how homely and responsible you were. Well, that was in those days when Nigerians held onto their culture and were proud of every bit of it.

Down to this present day, things have changed we have mixed up with other cultures to the extent that it has rubbed off on our traditions. We have embraced other cultures and now see ours as awkward or old fashioned. Men see ‘wrapper tying women’ as village women’, or women with no ambition and unattractive. To some, the sight of wrapper even irritates them – a thing to be worn by only illiterates. The most disheartening part of this is that even some of our female folks feel just the same way.

When did it all go wrong? Was it when we embraced the western culture? However, accepting other people’s culture does not mean we should relegate ours to the background.

It will be shocking to discover that young girls and women don’t even know how to tie wrapper. It may seem unbelievable but it’s so true, as our older mothers are now seeing wrapper tying as archaic. Our young mothers don’t even wear wrappers, and our young girls can’t even relate with tying wrapper – they don’t even know what you are talking about.

Our newlyweds tie the wrapper only on their traditional marriage ceremonies and after which they never wear it, the wrappers given during marriage remain in their boxes for a very long time and most are not even worn until death takes away their owner and someone else inherits it.

Wrappers can still look attractive at home or outside. Let us bring back our heritage, let us teach our daughters how to tie wrappers, let us look sexy in wrappers at home for our husbands, after all, what other sexy would be more than the fact that he can easily take off the wrapper and discover that there are no undies underneath the wrapper (in fact he will insist you only tie wrapper in bed ), our men should love us with our wrappers.

As women, our underneath needs to breathe at night and not tied up with bump shorts, therefore tying wrapper makes this easier. Where else can we be free to tie wrapper the way we want if not in our homes? Tying wrapper to social events gives us that self-esteem and pride as mothers and wives. Tying wrapper to events as a young girl makes you look decent, ready for marriage and showcases your African culture.

Having said all these, our culture and traditions are unique to us and makes us stand out from the crowd. Our African fabrics are not for our boxes or for western styles, they are for us and by us and should be worn our own style. The wrapper tying culture should not be frowned at whether at home or outside the home, it is our heritage and so should be held in high esteem.
I am a Mother, a wife, literate and an African Woman. I tie a wrapper at home and outside the home.


  1. I like it when I see women dressed in the traditional wrapper and fancy blouses.
    My wife know the importance of tying wrapper at bedtimes!

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