From My African Page
Chitenge is evidently the most important piece of clothing in Africa. Chitenge is the name which is used in Subsaharian Africa, though the origin of this cloth has to be found elsewhere.
Chitenge may be both a rectangular piece of cloth (approx. 2 square meters at a glance) and the typical African dress. In the male version it comes with te plain form of trousers (full lenght or knee-long) and a jacket-like shirt with short sleeves). The tailored female version comes with that variety or formal or less formal dresses that so much add to the natural beauty of African women.
But it is the chitenge as a piece of cloth and how African women use it that represent one of the vividest image of Africa I have in mind.
A chitenge can be stored in a city girl bag for use if the need of a more formal dress comes unexpected. A chitenge can be used to carry a baby on the back so that the baby is reassured by the mother's heartbeat and she can continue with what she is supposed to do. A chitenge can be used as a blanket on a colder night... How could it be more useful than that?
What about the title of this post? It comes from a story I used to be told.
A man arrived home at night, totally drunken. His wife was there waiting for him handling a huge scaring wooden spoon. In order to please her and save his back the poor man wanted to say "I'll buy you a chitenge and the end of mwezi (month), but he was so drank that he babbled: "I'll buy you mwezi (the moon) at the end of chitenge"!
Too much a commitment, even for the angriest of wives!
I took the pic above from this very interesting blog: http://asketchintime.blogspot.it