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Posted on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 : 7:02 a.m.

Nigerian Gele headwrapping workshop at AADL Traverwood

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

I have one good winter hat that I picked up in a Wisconsin hat shop in 1991. This is the one hat that I have worn every day of every winter ever since. I love this hat, but how safe. How dull. My daughter is currently trying to figure out how to re-create a traditional Turkish turban/hat to cosplay as a character from the manga, Hetalia. I keep telling her that it is more complicated than it looks, that there is a technique to it, that you have to have a certain touch, and I find myself quietly eyeing the many patkas and dastaars I see in town and wondering, "How is it done?" Here is an opportunity to put our hands on the fabric and make the motions and develop the touch...and adorn ourselves in a beautiful new way. The Ann Arbor District Library is hosting a Nigerian Gele Headwrapping Workshop this Saturday:

"Gele" is a Yoruba (Nigeria, West Africa) word for a female headwrap. According to Goodlife, the Nigerian fashion magazine, "The gele head wrap is a beautiful crown of glory, and today they come in amazing colours and designs." Join us to learn more about the gorgeous tradition of Nigerian Gele and how to tie one.

The Traverwood branch of the Ann Arbor library is hosting “The Art of the Gele: A Headwrapping workshop for women who love to be beautiful” Saturday, October 24 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join the Niyah Company’s Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, a Kalamazoo based anthropologist and master wrapper as she highlights the history of wrapping in America and teaches participants to tie several styles of beautiful, exquisite headwraps for everyday use and special occasions. The interactive workshop shall also feature a “Headwrap Swap” for regular wrappers who would like to trade wraps with others. Sample wraps will be available for use, however each participant is encouraged to bring a 2 yard piece of fabric that they would love to wear.

The Traverwood Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library is located at 3333 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village and a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at, her blog at, and she can be reached at