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One of West Africa’s Most Influential Wax Cloth Traders Dies

Dédé Rose Gamélé Creppy, aged 89 was the youngest, and the last living, “Nana Benz” – the legendary first generation of women cloth traders from Togo. Women traders – who became experts at predicting what the market wanted – started feeding design and colour suggestions back to the manufacturers. They were integral to the cloth’s success. The Nana Benzes were particularly skilled at this. The Nana Benzes, a group of about 15 Togolese women, started trading in the wax print. The word “Nana” is a diminutive form of “mother” or “grandmother” and “Benz” is for the Mercedes-Benz cars some of them liked to drive – and which they were able to buy due to their big success.