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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, July 05, 1949, Image 32

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1949-07-05/ed-1/seq-32/

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French Influence Seen
In Dress of Women of
West African Province
ABOMEY, DAHOMEY. West
Africa, July 5.—The descendants
of the fabled Amazonian women
warriors claim today, that they are
the most feminine and best dressed
women along this stretch of the
African slave coast..
They say it is the Paris influence
reflected in this French West Afri
can Province.
They look down their noses at
their less fashionable British co
lonial neighbors in Nigeria, the
Gold Coast and Togoland.
Most important, Paris has de
veloped a blue lipstick for equa
torial and torrid zone • Negro
women. British natives have only
various red shades.
In Dakar, Conakry and Grand
Bassam and in this ancient capi
tal, the French pay much more at
tention to current African styles.
"Some of us are larger and more
muscular than the average Afri
can woman," says Mme. Ololo
Fonga, Abomey’s leading outdoor
beauty parlor proprietor. (She
gives facials and performs hair
de-kinking jobs in front of her
thatch hut.) "But we are not
Amazons like the women who are
supposed to have made up that
army centuries ago.”
Abomey women shave their
heads back to almost the middle
They wear gold ornament* in
their hair and usually a gold piece
on a string in the middle of their
foreheads.
They cut and sew dresses of
bright green,, trimmed with blue,
yellow and orchid. The effect
is rainbowlike.
Nigerian women take much
less trouble. They cut » hole in
a piece of material and let It
hang like a nightgown. Then,
they tie a yard-wide strip cf the
same material around their pos
teriors with a big knot ,n front.
Their hats are a cumbersome
twist of the same cloth.
Three generations ago. the
Dahomey people were strong for
human sacrifice. They used the
skulls of their enemies as drink
ing cups. British, Portuguese.
Dutch and Germans have claimed
this strip of Africa at various
times in history.
But today it is extremely
French, in Allegiance. That is or.e
reason, wolhen here say, why they
take more trouble with their ap
pearance.
“You can see for yourself.” says
Ololo. “We are Paris, Our neigh
bors are London. Everybody
knows what that means.”
, — .
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