The Traditional Wrap: Toub, Melhfa, Lafaya, Tiyyab....
The Toub is celebrated by many African cultures as the epitome of modesty, elegance and grace. Across Africa, this cultural stable is referred to by many names including Melhfa (sometimes spelt Melfha, Melafa, Meulfeu, or Mlahef), Dampé in Mauritania & Mali; Lafaya in Northern Nigeria (Arewa), Niger and Chad. In Sudan it isn’t uncommon to hear it referred to as Tiyyab.
What is the Toub?
The Toub (Melhfa / Lafaya / Toub / Dampé / Tiyyab ) is a long rectangular cloth, with a typical dimension of 4meters x 1meter. The cloth is skillfully wrapped in a way which cover the wearers head and body.
In the dry hot regions of Africa, the Toub serves as a means of protection from the harsh weather. This is because the Toub is often made from natural fabrics such as Cotton.
The Toub is often decorated with intricate embroidery, which can be found along the edges or as a pattern on the front or back of the garment. The embroidery is typically done in bright colors and geometric shapes, and it is a testament to the skill.
The Toub has also gained popularity in recent years. It has been featured in fashion shows and worn by celebrities, bringing attention to the culture and craftsmanship.
However, the Toub is more than just a fashionable garment. In Sudan, it is a symbol of Sudanese identity and a connection to the country’s rich history and traditions. It is a reminder of the resilience and strength of the Sudanese people, who have overcome countless challenges and hardships throughout their history.
Despite its cultural significance, the toub is not immune to change. In recent years, modern designs and fabrics have been incorporated into the garment, reflecting the changing times and tastes of younger generations. However, the toub remains a beloved and cherished part of African culture, and it is likely to continue to be so for generations to come.
In conclusion, the toub is a beautiful and meaningful garment that represents the history, culture, and identity of the Sudanese people. Whether worn for a formal occasion or a casual outing, the toub is a reminder of the beauty and resilience of Sudanese culture. Its timeless design and enduring popularity are a testament to the enduring spirit of the Sudanese people.