via New York Times:
Where Africa's Kings Ruled, Their Finery Grew on Trees
By MARC LACEY (January 3, 2006)
NSANGWA, Uganda - The shirt that Peter S. Kaboggoza had on the other day was nice enough, a bit worn around the edges but with all the buttons in place and no visible rips or stains. Still, it was a cotton-polyester blend, and that made Mr. Kaboggoza a bit sheepish when asked why he was wearing it.
"Oh, this?" he said in Luganda, the local language.
Mr. Kaboggoza was wearing what Ugandans wear, second-hand clothes cast away by Westerners and scooped up on the cheap at local markets. But Mr. Kaboggoza is not the average Ugandan. He represents the country's proud past, when people here produced their own textiles, manufactured their own clothes and wore them with pride ... [read on]
But the craft of making bark cloth is not dead yet. It is still possible, deep in the villages around here, to find old men, younger men and even children banging on bark. And Unesco recently declared the art of bark cloth making one of the world's endangered cultural practices.
Augustine Omare-Okurut, who heads the Uganda National Commission
for Unesco, acknowledged that he himself does not wear bark cloth when
he goes out. But he said he uses it for wall hangings and place mats in
his home, and wants future generations to appreciate the practice.
"This is a tradition worthy of preservation because it's truly a masterpiece of human creativity," he said. ••