On this day in 1934, Grace Ogot was born Grace Emily Akinyi in Asembo, in the district of Nyanza, Kenya. She trained as a nurse in Uganda and in England. She has worked as a midwife, a tutor, as journalist, as a broadcaster and for an airline. In 1984 she became one of only a handful of women to serve as a Member of Parliament and the only woman assistant minister in the cabinet of then President Daniel arap Moi.

Moni Cah of Nairobi, Kenya machine pieced and quilted this 42” x 47” quilt between 1976-1999. Cah sells her work in a cooperative contemporary African quilt shop in Nairobi called “Amani  a Juu.” From the quilt’s label:

Our quilts are designed and crafted here in Nairobi, Kenya using local and international materials. To create an exclusive look, we dye, batik, and screen print our own fabrics. We also incorporate traditional East African kitenge and kikoi fabrics, as well as high-quality West African mud cloth. This variety provides a unique canvas for our contemporary designs. Furthermore, we hand stitch all of our bindings and use a free-arm sewing machine to quilt all-over swirl, meander, and floral designs. We measure and cut all scraps and cloth uniquely for each quilt.

The quilt was purchased by a Michigan State University Museum employee and is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.


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Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance