July 3, 2018



All I can say is, whaaa?


:D there's really no English word for it. Mostly because it's not of English origin


Thanks. Fair enough. But in the absence of a dictionary hint or context, I don't have much to go on. Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

There was a similar problem with "ugali" in the food lesson. On the one hand, just translating it as "ugali" doesn't help anyone who never eats East African food. On the other, the default translation of "stiff porridge" is terribly awkward.


I get it. It really is pointless to give these one-word exercises out of context. Maybe a matching words with pictures exercise with words like this, and something like a facts blurb would be useful to educate on some of East African culture. As it is, giving you random words that have no English translation is not helpful (but if you do want to know what a kitenge is, it comes up if you google it!)


In another question the word Kitenge was translated as "thick cotton wrap", but here that definition was not accepted.


Description from Wikipedia:

Kitenge or chitenge is an East African, West African and Central African fabric similar to sarong, often worn by women and wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling. Kitenges are colourful pieces of fabric. In the Coastal area of Kenya, and in Tanzania, Kitenges often have Swahili sayings written on them.[citation needed]

Kitenges are similar to kangas and kikoy, but are of a thicker cloth and have an edging on only a long side. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo are some of the African countries where kitenge is worn.[citation needed] In Malawi, Namibia and Zambia, kitenge is known as Chitenge. They are sometimes worn by men around the waist in hot weather. In some countries like Malawi, Chitenges never used to be worn by men until recently when the president encouraged civil servants to buy Malawian products by wearing Chitenge on Fridays.

Kitenges (plural vitenge in Swahili; zitenge in Tonga) serve as an inexpensive, informal piece of clothing that is often decorated with a huge variety of colors, patterns and even political slogans.

That's about 1/3 the article. Wiki has a little more on usage, manufacture, etc.


Kitenge is the name for the stiffer fabric, sometimes wax-coated, you can buy it by the yard. It's very similar to Ankara fabric. Most of the time it is made into clothes, or used as wraps, usually for women. Kanga is a similar thing but it is thinner, comes in a pre-cut block of two (about 1 yard per block), cotton, and those are the ones that have kiswahili sayings printed on them. They are worn as wraps or used in the household and are not as commonly made into sewn/fabricated clothing. I feel that Wikipedia is not too accurate on the this, as it's just a type of stiff, colorful fabric that can be purchased by the yard, and wasn't too commonly used as a wrap. Clothing made from Kitenge fabric is usually reserved for special occasions like church or dressing up. At least, that is my experience with it during my time in Tanzania. As far as translation for this question, I would have used "fabric" if I were making my own quiz.


According to google, kitenge seems to be any of the colorful traditional african patterns, found in both eastern and wesrern parts of the continent.


I was asked to translate it


Reported: The English sentence is unnatural or has an error. (Not too far from the issue here!)


So I have to learn Duolingo's errors....

Related Discussions

Learn Swahili in just 5 minutes a day. For free.