Kehinde Obo – Timeline of Awesome

270613_10151212203525342_1071271619_nDate Taken: September 2012 maybe — Crimson River’s Carno-val
Photographer: Aesa Rafrsmutter (mka Kim Stall)
What I love: Haha.
What I love less: Omg, African personas mean afros, right? And red face paint!
What I was dead wrong about: Really? Is that a question?

IMG_8856Date Taken: October 2012 — Shire Portraits
Photographer: Sven (mka Michael Stricklin)
What I love: Braids, beads, wrap, stern face
What I love less: No scarification, needs more beads and better braids
What I was dead wrong about: I’m glad I didn’t attempt scarification at this point because I like this picture and I would have hated it by now if I had to constantly stare at my poor decisions. Also, I would learn at Gulf Wars that the wrap I love so much is actually Ghana-ese, not Yoruba or even Nigerian. Yeeeeeah.

Iris Faire-2071Date Taken: April 2013 – Iris Faire
Photographer: Gwydion ap Lewyllen
What I love: Simpler hairstyle. I was under the impression previously that the multiple braids were a traditional Yoruba thing, but were a factor of post-Colonial aesthetics. Yes, cornrows are totes in for Yoruba. But the crazy hair handles I rocked at Gulf Wars? Apparently a post-colonial construction. Much like gele and iro, they simply aren’t supported with extant research. I also adopted a chemise for the modest Christian aspect and am relying less on the Ghana-ese wrap. I got new necklaces! Yay! I should wear ALL OF THEM. Seriously depicting scarification with white paint.
What I love less: Man, I seem to be really attached to that blue wrap, don’t I? It’s going to suck to give that up, especially since I should be making my own garments soon. I need beaded bracelets, not metal wire ones, and beaded anklets. I also need a fila, probably. I do not need to wear ALL of my necklaces (especially the Afghani one). That’s a bit silly. I need better scars.
What I was dead wrong about: I got so excited about my textiles, I forgot to properly research them. Printed resists won’t come into Nigeria until the 1900s. Sorry, Kehinde, but you need plains, wovens, and tie-and-dyes. You also need a new belt, but it’s supposed to go UNDER the garments. The simple hairstyle needs to be a bit spiced up. Also, I don’t really need a chemise because I have yet to find an proof that Yoruba that DID adopt Christianity would also adopt Portuguese modesty in the form of chemises.

971211_10152853131375595_671054667_nDate Taken: May 2013 — Mayhem in the Garden
Photographer: Angus (mka Jason Machen)
What I love: Hairstyle spiced up just the right amount with drop braids and a braided bun in the back. Not too crazy. Not too plain. I could probably slip a coif or fila on, if so needed, though I’m not 100% sure right now what medieval Nigerian women wore on their heads. I’ve gone “less is more” with the necklaces. I could do without perhaps one more. Scarification is now achieved with scarring liquid and looks pretty damn good. Finally ditched the Ghana-ese wrap (for good?).
What I love less: That blue sarong/purple apron combo is back and I’m not really happy about it. I’m working on other combinations, but I don’t have enough fabric yet. Still needing bracelets/anklets. Beaded belt is still on the outside.
What I was dead wrong about: Here’s the part you don’t see. At this event, I was working on an adire alabere (stitch-resist tie and dye) piece. I had a huge length of cloth and was stitching designs straight onto it. Adire pieces need to be cut into strips, though, because it takes forever to do that and for reasons explained in a previous article. Even my adire onika kijipa (single or two-panel wrap dress) that I’m making is going to have to at least be cut in half. I was a tool. My bad, Kehinde. I’m making you a fila at least. I need indigo. Like…a lot.

Date Taken: May 2013 — Border Raids
Photographer: Gwydion ap Lewyllen
What I love: What’s that you say? Where’s the blue wrap? The purple apron? HAHA! GONE! And replaced with a plain, pale green sarong and green waist wrap. No belt on the outside, dropped a necklace, laid down the Ghanaese wrap, picked up a batik’d one. Technically the white/blue batik is still incorrect, but this is a learning process. The scars are looking pretty good.
What I love less: My tattoo is showing. Yeah, it’s not a big deal or anything, but it isn’t period accurate, either. Meh. Still wearing the metal wire bangles (though I gave half away to a newbie I’d met there, since I won’t be needing them much longer). I’m wearing shoes. Blech. Still need a fila or coif. Still need beaded anklets.
What I was dead wrong about:  I am improving to the point that I am less “dead wrong” about things. Now I am just in need of tweaking stuff. I guess the only real issue here is that I was skipping court to get ice cream and ended up getting called up in my absence. Still worth it, and I got a cookie out of it.


Date Taken: October 2013 — Fall Crown List
Photographer: Shay King
What I love: DAYUM. WHO IS THAT SEXY LADY WITH THE INDIGO ADIRE AND THE GREEN KIJIPA? KEHINDE, YOU SAY? HOLY CRAP. Yeah, it’s a HUGE improvement over Border Raids. I figured if they were going to give me a fancy scroll and token, I may as well step it up. It’s amazing to see the difference a vat of indigo and some patience creates. You can’t see them, but I’m wearing some AWESOME trades here. I decided less is more with the scars and it’s paid off; they look way more feminine and realistic now AND I can eat and smile.
What I love less: Wire bracelets still (blargh) and my hair is still EXTREMELY short from cutting it in August. I need to make kijipa with smaller patterns, these seem WAY too large compared to extant garments, where the circles and dots are about the size of a dime. More to practice, I guess. I need to also add scars to my arms and upper chest.
What I was dead wrong about:  I am not so much dead wrong and deliberately misleading here. I would probably not be wearing a shawl over my head, sari-style. I COULD, but can’t seem to find any info that I WOULD. Also, the green kijipa is WAY too bright. I’ll be tossing it into an indigo wash when I get the chance.

Well, that’s where I’m at. A journey about 8 months NOW THIRTEEN MONTHS in the making. It’s been challenging but never boring. Thanks for sticking with me so far!

Oh, and for those wondering, there is a longer version of my persona’s name: Omokehindebegbon Ayoka Obo aka Brizida Alvarez de Lagos.

Aren’t you happy I just go by Kehinde? You’re welcome.

Happy adventuring!



  1. giazzpet said,

    06/25/2013 at 05:57

    Would love to interview you sometime for my blog at let me know! 😀

  2. Jess said,

    07/21/2013 at 13:39

    My fiance has a HUGE interest in the SCA and adopting a Viking persona. I’d like to support him and try it out. I’d also like to commit to an African persona. Would you be able to assist in identifying good resources to develop one that is historically accurate.

    I would appreciate any assistance possible. Thanks so much for your time!

    • remzical said,

      07/22/2013 at 09:59

      I could try and help! I focus on Western Africa (such as Mali, Benin, Nigeria), but Eastern Africa (such as Zanzibar and Timbuktu) also have documented contact with Europe. The Congo is also an EXCELLENT place to begin. They embraced Christianity, unlike some other African nations, and their children were constantly visiting and being educated in Portugal.

      The important things to remember about sub-Saharan African garb is that much of the clothing is draped, though they did have stitched garments. Christian Africans (depending on location) would likely wear shirts under the garments. Stick to homespun weaves and embroidered undershirts. For some parts of Western Africa, resist batiking doesn’t arrive until 1900. If you can get indigo, use that to dye garments. Stick to dark jewel tones for your wraps. If you’d like to register an African name, I’d start with the Congo, since they have documented registered names on censuses and baptism/conversion records (requires a bit of searching). Keep in mind that there are thousands of languages and dialects–what works for one African in Benin, may not work for an African in Mali….

      Basic books are: Old Africa Rediscovered by Basil Davidson and Africa’s Glorious Legacy in the Lost Civilizations series

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