The term “mud cloth” is translated from Bambara, the language spoken in Mali. “Bògòlanfini” as it is called in Bambara, combines three root words: “bogo” meaning earth or mud, “lan” meaning ‘with’, and “fini” meaning cloth.
Though it’s commonly referred to as “African”, this fabric hails from northern Africa, specifically the inland country of Mali in the Western Sahara region. The handmade Malian cloth dyed using fermented mud, giving it its name-sake. This tradition dates back to the 12th century.