Fashion – Uganda’s Gomesi

During elective political campaigns, a significant section of Ugandan women generally tend to favor the use of photos in which they are wearing what is considered traditional or culturally accepted attire for their campaign posters and publicity.

One such attire is the Gomesi, which, for example, a fellow Ugandan described thus:

It’s the one single thing (outfit) that bestows instant dignity on the wearer… A real national treasure.

Muwanga Paddy (@MuwangaPaddy)

In my Gomesi ready to officiate a Certificate Award Ceremony as the Executive Director of the Uganda Change Agent Association. The Gomesi was a gift from Ruth Namusubo, a Change Agent (beneficiary of our work) and who eventually worked under me as Programme Officer for Central Region.

History has it that the Gomesi was introduced into Uganda by a Goan designer, Caetano Gomes, and it was later popularized by the Nabagereka, wife of Kabaka Daudi Chwa II of Buganda, who wore it at the official coronation of her husband in 1914. Buganda is the largest first nation of Uganda,

It is now campaign season in Uganda for the parliamentary and presidential elections 2021, and cultural wear is favored for campaign posters of women. Indeed many women candidates from all over the country have used photos of them in wearing a Gomesi to make their official campaign posters.

Interestingly though, cultural wear doesn’t seem necessarily favored for the men, who often favor global-western attire for their campaign posters. There is some food for thought on this. Why is it so?

And it is interesting also that at national level, women favor cultural attire only for their campaign posters and not necessarily also as office wear, for example in parliament during their term of office. Again, food for thought.

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