12 / 2001

Nigeria * Fulbe-Hausa ceremonial sandal with ostrich feathers

The Hausa people are renowned for their leatherwork, which is very colourful and skilfully made. It is traded all over West Africa. In Nigeria the majority of the people are Hausa, however the leading aristocracy is formed by the Fulani or Fulbe people. Above sandal is created by Hausa craftsmen for special occasions like a Fulbe wedding. The soles are about one inch wider than the foot to prevent sinking into the desert sand, much like the snowshoes are used by the Inuit people of Alaska for walking on snow. The Y-string upper is entirely covered by ostrich feathers sandwiched in a circle between two riveted leather patches. Tendons and coloured strips of leather are used to decorate the soles together with blue, red and black pigments.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland