What Is an African Kufi Hat?

by Elizabeth Smith ; Updated September 28, 2017

African kufi hat

Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mark Knobil

A kufi hat is a small hat usually worn by males of varying religions in Africa. The kufi hat often symbolizes wisdom or age, and is part of the traditional dress in many African countries. Kufi hats come in many styles and colors, depending on the region and purpose.


The brimless kufi hat has a round shape to fit the head. The sides are several inches tall and have a rounded or crown-shaped top.


Many kufi hats are white, but a variety of colors and ornamentation are worn. For fancier occasions like weddings, men may wear kufi hats that have colored or embroidered bands to match the traditional African dress.


Kufi hats are worn for many purposes and on many occasions. Most African men do not wear them for everyday purposes, but may wear them for prayers or special events.

Western Influence

The kufi hat has shown up in African American culture in the United States, usually as a mark of cultural pride. Occasionally, kufis make an appearance in pop culture situations on musicians and rappers.


The kufi hat is part of the traditional costume of many West African countries, but similar styles are used in other parts of Africa and the Middle East.

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Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Mark Knobil

About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.