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Business Fades at Nigeria’s Traditional Dye Pits

For at least five centuries, people in the northern Nigerian city of Kano have dyed cloth in open-air pits and sold it across the region. But the dye pits’ business is fading. Artisans blame the region’s ongoing insecurity, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency, for the decline. Sitting near one of the Kofar Mata dye pits, Mamuda Abubakar sinks cotton cloth into a brew of water, indigo, ash and potassium. Later, he pulls out a deep blue garment that will be offered for sale at the Kofar...

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