Doek, duku, dhuku, tukwi and shweshwe are all regional descriptors for the cloth scarf that adorns the head of African women. In Nigeria, the coverings are called gele, and can denote social status and background, based on the color and materials used in their construction.
Spun from cotton or hand-woven silk (aso-oke) the material can be transformed into ankara, damask or the metallic jacquard style.
The majority of the women at this year’s gathering of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa’s mid-Missouri chapter arrived already donning the wraps; however, a few, mostly younger women or girls, stepped out of their family’s vehicles with bare heads that were quickly covered once the women gathered inside.
Aisha Ibitoye, 10, underwent the process twice. Once before dinner and once after. She was one of the youths that participated in the children’s cultural performance and fashion show that followed dinner.
The gele is worn only to church and for special occasions, Juliet Ogungbade said.