Wednesday, March 27, 2013

AfricaStyle: Juju Hat Update :)

Awhile back, I gushed over the Bamileke Juju Hat from Cameroon, and its (semi) recent popularity in interior design.


I mean, what more could you ask for in an ethnic statement piece? Color, texture, tribal origins, wow-factor, portability?!?! Considering I travel to Cameroon on the regular, its safe to say I need to find myself one of these beauts.

Well, about a month ago (oh my goodnessss, how has it already been a month?!) I was back in Cameroon determined to make some progress on my hunt for the elusive juju hat. From what I can find, these feather headdresses retail for anywhere between $300 and $1000. I also have to wonder if they are all authentic, considering the variety of color options and quality (I would think the real deal might appear less perfect...?).

A juju hat folded up in its own protective storage. Genius!

I was soooo busy on my trip I almost gave up all hope of finding a juju hat or at least finding out where to purchase one on my next trip. On my last day, I hesitantly brought it up with the taximan, and ohmygoodness, HE IS BAMILEKE (the ethnic group that makes these headdresses). P.S. Cameroon has approximately 250 ethnic groups! The Bamileke reside primarily in the West and Northwest of the country. While you can't find the juju hat in Douala (the administrative capital and where I am based for work), Olivier told me that they make these headdresses in his village, and he travels there regularly to see his family. On his next trip, he will find me a juju hat and bring it back to Douala for when I am next in Cameroon (and I'll pay him, duh). We exchanged phone numbers so he can tell me what colors I have to choose from, and the price range.

How freaking perfect?! And also, Olivier is the nicest man ever. He was our driver for the week and bent over backwards to help us with business and navigating Douala. I cannot wait until my next trip to Douala when I willfingers crossed, inshallahbe reunited with my very own juju hat! I'm also super-curious to hear how much they cost in Cameroon. I'm hoping for something under/around $100. Wishful thinking perhaps? We shall see...

Now I would really love to visit the Bamileke region of Cameroonthe grasslands. Apparently they are renowned for their craftsmanship... right up my ally!

A map depicting some of the ethnic groups in Cameroon,
including the Bamileke who are bit north of Douala.

I just started browsing through some pictures of juju hats and I am so overwhelmed with the possibilities! I can't help but link just a few more images, all from a blog/shop run by a French couple that work with Cameroonian families to resell these headdresses all over the world (and other antiques/art work). Check out their blog!

That right there is a juju hat TABLE. A table.

The pastel color pallet... these remind me of ballerinas for some reason. Love.

Juju hats plus antique pieces? Gorgeous.

A mélange of natural tone juju hats, three different sizes.

I could go on, but I suggest just visiting for a plethora of interior inspiration featuring the juju hat!


  1. Thank you for the great blog and nice post! Just needed to tell you that I too lived in Senegal, lived on Gorée Island and as you come from a multi-cultural family, my mother is American and my father German!!! You can imagine how surprised I was when I saw your post and then read about you. Anyway thank you again.
    Oh and if it's not too much to ask, the bottom link has an H in the beginning, therefor it doesn't work.
    Anyway it's a small world isn't it? I'll keep following your blog!

    1. Hi Sunshine,
      Thank you so much for commenting on this post, and pointing out that little typo... I will be SURE to fix it, as it would be a shame if anyone missed out on your great blog! I sent you an email, but thanks again for stopping by... I'm so grateful to connect with people with similar backgrounds :)
      xx Kim


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