Clothing is part of culture because it defines who people are. A Muganda woman typically wears a gomesi. This is a floor-length, brightly colored cloth dress with a square neckline and short, puffed sleeves.
The first Gomesi was made of bark cloth however today they come in materials such as silk, cotton and other fabrics. A gomesi is not a single clothing but rather one that is accompanied with several garments to make it whole like the Kikoy which is an undergarment that is worn to add weight.
The garment is fastened with a sash traditionally known as a kitambala placed around the waist over the hips, and two buttons on the left side of the neckline.
The indigenous dress of the Baganda man is a kanzu, a masculine outfit that looks similar to a tunic and is mostly composed of a white or cream fabric. It’s made from silk, cotton, poplin, or linen. Linen kanzus are the most expensive.
The Kanzu, unlike other specific attires, cuts across several tribes, and almost all Ugandan men wear it during cultural functions. The Kanzu has a make of a dress and the men usually wear trousers beneath it plus a coat over their shoulders to match with it.
Traditionally, the busuuti was strapless and made from bark cloth. The busuuti is worn on all festive and ceremonial occasions like introduction parties, giveaways, and coronation ceremonies.
The Significance of the Gomesi and Kanzu is to promote decency and respect in public. Different tribes around Uganda and worldwide have adopted this traditional wear. The Gomesi and Kanzus are easily customized into different designs and colors as preferred by different individuals.
Put in mind that when wearing these traditional cloths you have to be gracious. Men ought not to hold the kanzu when walking to avoid it from touching the ground. Never let the undergarment be seen. And never alter the traditional design of the gomesi or kanzu because it ceases to be the known traditional wear.
These traditional outfits can be bought from shops in the city centre of Kampala at places like; Mukwano Arcade, Kiyembe shopping centre, Craft Village and several shops around Kampala town.
In order to own one, you’ve got to buy material of your preference, then take it for measurements to a tailor who then sews it into a Gomesi but for a Kanzu, the gentleman has to fit in to find the perfect size and height of it. The Busuutis are quite affordable but the material you want will determine how much you will have to spend.