Desert Island Essential: The Kikoi


There are many things which I cannot live without. If you ask me for my top three desert island must-haves, I’d be at a complete loss. I’d be paralysed with the infinite choice. All I know for sure is that lip balm and a kikoi would be there.

I should be the founding member of LBA (Lip Balmers Anonymous) – I am never without some tube, pot or applicator. It’s never coloured, always clear and ruins my day if I leave the house without it.  Honestly, I’m more upset if I find myself lip balm-less than if I’ve forgotten my mobile phone.

OK, so weird lip-moisture issues aside, the other item I absolutely cannot live without is a kikoi (pronounced  ‘kick-oy’).  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then listen up! A kikoi was originally a mans sarong from the East Coast of Africa but has now evolved into a multi-functional garment for both sexes and for all ages.

Celebrities are also fans of this African essential. Keira Knightly and Kate Hudson are always spotted in theirs. Even Brad Pitt sported one in Vanity Fair!

Traditionally woven on looms in Africa in 100% cotton, they are brightly coloured, nearly always 60 inches by 40 inches square  and lightweight, so they dry super-fast .   Most commonly used as a unisex sarong, this nifty bit of fabric becomes irreplaceable to any who have had one – I used mine endlessly:

  • when I’m just out of the shower and running around the house
  • On the beach as a windbreak, beach towel, head rest or picnic blanket
  • As a shawl or scarf (great as a muffler for skiing!)
  • At home as a table cloth, chair throw or cushion cover
  • As a temporary cover for the back seat of my car when I’ve got dogs with me
  • As a baby blanket

I always keep at least one kikoi in the back of my car for ‘emergency use’ and you’d be surprised how often it’s called on!

For under £20.00, you could grab one of these and try it for yourself.  Do make sure you’re buying from a responsible and ethical supplier as this is one product where you could really make a difference to a small industry in a third world country.

So, if you’re shooting off on holiday soon, pick one up and start a life-long passion!

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