Traditional African Clothing

Tribal costumes - Ndbele, Zulu, Venda, Xhosa, Basotho, and Swazi people.

In Africa a women's clothing can incorporate beaded and woven skirts, blankets and cloaks with elaborate motifs. The colorful jewelry are made from metal including copper, grasses and beads

The Ndebele of the southern part of the Gauteng Povince in South Africa are renowned for their colorful traditional clothing and artistic beadwork.

traditionalclothingNdebele.jpg (39868 bytes)Image 1. After passing through an initiation school the unmarried Ndebele girl dons the ceremonial clothing of the newly -admitted adult (1st image to the left). The outfit consist of a skirt, with beaded apron, a beaded bodice that covers the breasts, a necklace or two, earrings, neck band with multiple arm and leg bands. The outfit is a typical example of the bright colored clothing and beads that make up traditional outfits.

A girl just entering her teens dressed in traditional clothing (above center) The outfit consists of a beaded bodice and characteristic double-layered cloth skirt with the neck, head, with multiple leg and armbands. This type of clothing is normally worn on special occasions like weddings or celebrations.

Image 3. A young married woman with a colorful beaded cloak is dressed for a dancing ceremony. (See image above left) The design of the beaded staff is typical of the Ndbele people. In Africa a woman's clothing indicate whether she is married. In many parts of Africa only the married woman may wear a cloak

The Zulu people the most prominent tribe in South Africa

zulutraditionalclothing.jpg (44403 bytes)Image 1. The chief wears a leopard skin and bright colored feathers of the bishop bird adorn his headdress. The shield and spear is for protection and is part of the traditional gear worn by the chief. Image 2 The heard boy's traditional everyday work clothing consist of a loin cloth and skin to cover his rear, brightened by bearded hoops and necklaces.

Image 3. Dancing costume of a young Zulu maiden. The entire outfit is made of beads. This costume is worn during festivals or dancing ceremonies.

Image 4. Zulu diviner wears special clothing designed to please the snake. The Zulu takes its name after from their chief Shaka Zulu who founded the royal line in the 16th century. The complicated Zulu etiquette was refined during his reign. You can view our catalog of fashionable Zulu Hats here

Kofia or African hat is extremely popular amongst djembe players

African Clothing - Xhosa tribal South and Western Cape.

xhosatraditionalclothing.jpg (44111 bytes)A young maiden draped with a blanket of a favorite ochre color, and a elaborately beaded gorget. Her armbands are of copper and, weaved grasses and beads. Image 2. A tribal elder warmly wrapped in his blanket daubed his face with white clay. The Xhosa use clay for many purposes. Image 3. This married woman wears a typical wrap skirt and cloak. The beaded bag is for her smoking accessories. Only married women are permitted to smoke.


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