Cloth Meaning: Nsu Bra

Happy Friday!

Today’s post is about the meaning behind one of my favorite cloths Nsu Bra. A Black American woman once asked me what the meaning of a particular cloth was. I looked her like she was crazy. She must’ve noticed because she then asked me ” You do know cloths have meanings ?” I was annoyed and I responded with “yes I know, I’m from Ghana.” The truth was that I really didn’t know. I had never heard such a thing. Even though both my parents are from Ghana, I was born in the US and unfortunately there are many things I do not know about the Ghanaian culture. I previously mentioned here and here that I was unaware  Ghana had slave castles until the 12th grade. Anyways, gone are the days where I can just blame my mother for my lack of knowledge and ignorance. I am 28 years old and its 2015. That means its time for me to do my own investigative research, and ask questions! I love this very popular cloth Nsu Bra. I want to get all the colors and make different pieces of clothing. They would make some cute pants.


Cloth Meaning Nsu Bra

I learned how to say it or so I thought (read here) and now it was time to learn its meaning. Thanks to Google and Style Me Ankara, I got the inside scoop on this beautiful cloth!


Origin of The Design

Nsu Bra pattern first appeared in African markets in 1960. It was originally called ‘the Disc’ and was designed in 1936 by Mr Piet Snel, a Dutch fabric designer at Vlisco. The design was derived from a very old drawing made in 1924. Vlisco is like the couture  of African print. They are the originators of West African print (Ankara). -Via Style Me Ankara

Photo Source: Vlisco

Photo Source: Vlisco

Nsu Bra or Nsu Bura

cloth meaning nsubra

My mom rocking her Nsu Bra in Ghana before heading out to church. #SundayBest


This fabric is very popular in Ghana. It is called Nsu Bra in the Ghanaian dialect Twi and it simply means water well. When something is thrown into a water well, it creates a ripple effect. This is what inspired local fabric traders to name this pattern Nsu Bra.  -Via Style Me Ankara

How I Rock My Nsu Bra

Cloth Meanig: Nsu BraLast year on my 27th Birthday!

I purchased this Nsu Bra cloth from Eleganza Fashions in Hyattsville, MD. I then took it to my seamstress Janet who is also located in Hyattsville. Let me know if you want her contact info.

cloth meaning nsu bra

Fest Africa 2015

I purchased this Nsu Bra cloth from Ghana this past summer. I shared it here in my Ghana 2015|Vlog# 7|Market Haul. Then I took it to a seamster (in Kumasi, Ghana) who made this dress for me.

cloth meaning nsu bra

My BFF’s birthday brunch

I purchased this Nsu Bra cloth from Eleganza Fashions in Hyattsville, MD. I then took it to my seamstress Janet who is also located in Hyattsville. Let me know if you want her contact info.

afram 2016-national museum of african art cultural village (1)

#AFRAM Festival 2016

Some of my favorite style bloggers rocking it!

Prissyville Nsu Bra

prissyville nsu bra


Priscilla is a fellow MD blogger that actually introduced me to Eleganza Fashions. She also purchased her Nsu Bra cloth from there.

2snapsandatwirl Nsu Bra


AbenaLove Nsu BraAbenaLove

style pantry nsu bra pants

Style Pantry

Philomena Kwao Nsu Bra

Model Philomena Kwao

actress maameyaa boafon nsu bra skirt

Actress MaameYaa Boafo

What is your favorite cloth and the meaning behind it?

Please share below. Have a blessed weekend 🙂

~Amma Mama

  • Chi-chi
    December 18, 2015

    Hey Amma Mama,

    Me and angel recently purchased fabric in August that had the Nsu Bra design and didn’t event know it had any meaning or that it is Ghanian. The design of the pattern was what actually attracted us to the fabric.

    Thanks for sharing! I am always excited to learn something new, especially when it relates to Africa Lol

    Best Always!

    • ammamama
      December 18, 2015

      Hey Chi-chi!
      Yes I am learning all about the meanings behind some of these popular cloths.It’s fun! It’s actually an orginal Vlisco design so its not an original Ghanaian cloth like Kente. However, Ghanaians gave it the name Nsu Bra or Nsubura. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Mabel
    December 18, 2015

    Nsu Bra is my ultimate favorite print. I’ve curated a small collection of the print over the years and always request various colors when I have family visit Ghana. It’s gotten quite popular over the years; I suppose because the pattern is consistent and makes it fun to style in original or modern ways… I’m also obsessed with Afe bi ye asiane.. but I’ve only seen it three colors– ever! Amma, if you pay attention to some prints in Ghana or in your mother’s wardrobe, you’ll notice that many pieces have messages or names printed on the hem of the garment. You’ll see it on funeral wear especially but GTP and ATL have brought back the trend with some of their new pieces. It’s in Twi of course, but I think it’s cool that we are still “naming” our cloths. Don’t you love our culture!?

    Great article per usual.

    • ammamama
      December 20, 2015

      Hey Mabel boo!
      Yes it’s such a fun cloth to style. Original but modern, perfect combo.Afe bi ye asiane is nice as well. Thanks for that info. I’ll definitely pay closer attention to look for these messages and or names. I had no idea. Yes, I LOVE our culture. I absolutely love how detailed Ghanaians are. Everything is symbolic too, its so beautiful. Thanks for reading boo 🙂

  • Melissa
    December 20, 2015

    Hello Amma Mamma,

    I love reading your articles Amma! I do not have a Nsu Bra print skirt yet but I plan to get one in the future. Thank you for sharing the history of this beautiful print!

    • ammamama
      December 20, 2015

      Hey Melissa!
      Thanks so much for reading. I am glad you enjoy them. Means a lot. Yes definitely get one, it would look fab on you. Have a blessed week 🙂

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