The kanga (or khanga; from the old Bantu (Swahili) verb ku-kanga, to wrap or close), is a colorful garment similar to Kitenge worn by women and occasionally by men throughout the African Great Lakes region. It is a piece of printed Cotton fabric,about 1.5 m by 1 m, often with a border along all four sides (called pindo in Swahili), and a central part (mji) which differs in design from the borders.
Kangas have for as long as is known been a traditional type of dress amongst women in the African Great Lakes region. Toward the eastern part of the region, phrases in Swahili are traditional, while in central areas phrases in both Swahili and Lingala are popular. Kangas are also often referred to as Lesos.
One of the longer edges of the mji features a strip which contains a message in Swahili, or less commonly in Arabic or Comoran. Other countries which produce their own Kangas write the Kanga messages/names in their main languages: in Madagascar (Malagasy Republic) where they are known as Lambas, they feature Ohabolana, traditional proverbs written in Malagasy; they are also produced in Zambia and Malawi. This message is called the jina (literally 'name') of the kanga. Messages are often in the form of riddles or proverbs. Some examples: