A traditional Kofia.

The kofia is a brimless cylindrical cap with a flat crown, worn mainly by some men in East Africa.


Kofia is a Somali word that means "hat".[1] The kofia is a round cap with no brim and a flat crown. The traditional kofia has tiny pin holes in the cloth that allows the air to circulate.[citation needed]

The kofia is worn by Somali and Swahili men in East Africa, especially in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, and north and coast of Mozambique along with the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also commonly worn in Oman and is popular in Comoros.[citation needed]

The kofia is often worn with a dashiki, a colorful African shirt which is called a kitenge shirt in some regions of East Africa. In Uganda, the kofia is worn with the kanzu (a white or cream-coloured tunic) on informal occasions. Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of Kenya, was often photographed wearing a kofia.[citation needed]

Related headwear


In Zanzibar, and Northern Uganda, the Bargashia is a popular hat. This hat was named after Barghash bin Said of Zanzibar, the former Sultan of Zanzibar. Unlike the kofia, it is covered in embroidery and does not have pin holes. Like the kofia, the bargashia is worn with the kanzu.[2]


Main article: Fez (hat)

The fez is also worn with the kanzu and dashiki in East Africa. The East African style has a tassel that hangs from the top of the hat. The red fez was introduced into the region by the military. During British colonial rule of East Africa, the red fez was worn by a regiment called the King's African Rifles. The fez is also worn in West Africa, but the West African version has a stem on top of the hat, and no tassel.[citation needed]

The Cape Malays in Cape Town, South Africa, whose menfolk wear fezzes, sometimes refer to the fez as a kofia (also spelt kofija).[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Definition of Kofia". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Archives of the Tanzanian Embassy in Russia". Archived from the original on 30 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Kofia". A Dictionary of South African English. 20 February 2023. Retrieved 20 February 2023. 1951 L.G. Green, Grow Lovely, 189: Cape Malays call the fez a kofija.