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Tsonga Dress and Fashion

Rayda Becker

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

All Tsonga in South Africa originate from Mozambique. A small group, they have a complex history involving various migrations and names; Tsonga now primarily denotes a language. In the early 1900s Tsonga women wore skirts made of imported cotton, and beaded jewelry. Later the skirts became shorter and fuller and are now made of wool. The main changes over the last century involve the upper body, the beaded necklaces worn in the 1930s giving way to blouses and T-shirts, worn with the minceka, two

Malawi

Barbara W. Blackmun

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Landlocked Malawi is situated in southeast Africa. It has a large lake, a varied topography and climate, and a diverse population. Dress traditions reflect the country’s checkered history, involving foreign influence through migration, trade, and invasion. Nguni warriors from Natal conquered lakeside farming communities in the 1850s, and Arab and Yao slave traders later devastated the land, which became a British protectorate in 1890. Previously, the Maravi and Yao peoples were renowned ironworke

South Africa Overview

Patricia Davison

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Africa offers a rich field for exploring the symbolic language of dress in the varied contexts of everyday life. It is a country of many cultural layers, with eleven official languages and a relatively recent history of racial segregation and imposed ethnically based “homelands.” After 1994, however, when South Africa became a multiparty democracy, the new nation aspired to be united in its diversity, even though the inequalities of the past remained embedded in many social institutions and

Zimbabwe

William J. Dewey

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Shona peoples represent the majority of Zimbabwe’s population, followed by the Ndebele and the Tonga; each has its dress traditions. Ancient rock paintings left by the very early San peoples depict male hunters with bows and arrows, the women wearing front and back animal-skin aprons. The Bantu speakers migrating to the region about two thousand years ago left figurines, apparently showing body scarring, but no other figurative evidence of early dress or adornment remains. Excavations have yi

Botswana

Deborah Durham

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Botswana lies north of South Africa and is extensively covered by the Kalahari Desert. Ethnic groups extend into Namibia, Angola, and South Africa, due to earlier migrations resulting from land degradation or climate change. This fluidity was sometimes reflected in dress; some adopted the clothing of new neighboring groups, while others maintained traditional practices. In precolonial times, peoples such as the Bushmen and Herero wore leather garments adorned with shells and beads. Bodies were de

Namibia

Hildi Hendrickson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In Namibia, the oldest indigenous forms of dress were made from the leather hides of wild and domesticated animals, decorated with shell and locally made metal beads. Before the Colonial period, differing cultural groups and social subgroups distinguished themselves through formalized yet highly inventive hairstyles, headgear, and types of tooth modification. Cloth dress was slowly introduced via Europeans and was adopted in uneven ways. Some indigenous people began wearing cloth early in the Col

Swaziland

Lombuso Khoza

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The kingdom of Swaziland, which gained independence from Britain in 1968, lies between South Africa and Mozambique. The population shares a culture, language, and loyalty to their monarch. In the1840s Europeans brought cloth and beads, which local peoples creatively added to their traditional attire. Today, in town or country, Swazis wear traditional or Western clothing, or combine both. Traditional dress, worn for ceremonies, plays a vital role in maintaining cultural ties. Lacking written recor

Pedi, Ndebele, and Ntwane Dress and Beadwork

Sandra Klopper

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Pedi, Ndebele, and Ntwane communities developed close links during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in what is now South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. Some of their beadwork and rituals are almost identical. Today there are two Ndebele groups, the Manala and Ndzundza. Influenced by missionaries, the former gradually lost touch with traditional dress, while the Ndzundza, forcibly indentured to white farmers in the 1880s, strove for cultural cohesion, developing beadwork associated with i

Migrant Workers, Production, and Fashion

Sandra Klopper and >Fiona Rankin-Smith

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Africa’s migrant labor system first began in the 1850s when African men from rural communities flocked to the newly discovered diamond and gold fields on the Witwatersrand in search of work. Originally miners brought their own clothing to work in the mines, primarily shorts. Eventually the mining companies, to protect their human resources, decided it was in their best interest to provide rubber boots, coveralls, and hard hats to protect miners working in a very dangerous occupation. By the

Madagascar

John Mack

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Madagascar is by far the largest of the islands lying off the coast of Africa, yet its traditions of dress and personal decoration are distinctively different from what is found even on adjacent parts of the continent. They also show considerable differentiation within the island itself. Clothing is adapted both to extremes of heat and, in the center of the island, to cold, especially at night. Banana tree fiber, bark, hemp, and indigenous silkworms have all been exploited in making textiles, and

Women’s Cooperatives and Self-Help Artists

Kimberly Miller and Brenda Schmahmann

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

During the 1980s and 1990s, a number of art-making cooperatives were set up to address the dire poverty of communities in South Africa as well as so-called homelands such as Gazankulu and Bophuthatswana. Some catered to men and women, coupling an imperative to generate income for members with an agenda to protest against apartheid through the creation of art. The majority, however, catered specifically to women who, in addition to being denied human rights and economic opportunities through apart

Angola

Manuel Jordán Pérez

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Angola is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Namibia. Most of the original Khosian speakers were displaced by migrations of Bantu in ancient times. Some Khosians remain in Southern Angola, living as hunter-gatherers or working for Bantu pastoralists. Their dress draws on available resources such as ostrich eggshell beads and goatskins, with varied styles reflecting the wearers’ affiliations. A former Portuguese colony, Angola has suffer

Mozambique

Kathleen Sheldon

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Descriptions of dress and adornment in Mozambique were observed and discussed by visitors and Mozambicans beginning with the first written documents in the fifteenth century c.e. Mozambique—located in southeastern Africa with a long Indian Ocean coastline, also bounded by Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa—is home to several ethnic groups with a variety of styles of dress, which changed over the years as the arrival of European Christian missionaries and the spread of Islam made an impact. The

Zambia

Ruth Kerkham Simbao

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Zambia (previously Northern Rhodesia) has a complex history of dress that reflects past migrations, vibrant interactions with international peoples, and a creative desire to register style and social status. The significance of dress has been incorporated into language, and a Bemba person might greet a female friend by saying, “Mwafwalukeni!” which on one level means “Hello” but at the same time acknowledges that the friend is wearing a new dress.

Archaeological Evidence

Fred T. Smith

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

In Africa, the human body has always been a focus for creative expression. Each culture has evolved its own patterns of dress and associated symbolic system, yet cross-cultural influences and change have constantly occurred. A society’s political structure and religious institutions can determine the type of dress used. Societies with a centralized organization often have elaborate, even grandiose programs of visual culture associated with leadership. The ruler or an elite group often reserves th

Southern Africa

Juliette Leeb-du Toit

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The designation southern Africa marks a region shaped by cultural distinctiveness coupled with early settler and colonial boundaries that are the result of economic and legislative control. This resulted in the demarcation of specific countries inflected by European and British settler influence and occupancy—namely, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. However, these boundaries belie cultural and economic exchange that transcended such artificial geographic boundaries. Migran

Nguni, Zulu, and Xhosa Dress and Beadwork

Gary van Wyk

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Nguni peoples of South Africa include the Xhosa- and Zulu-speaking peoples of the southeast and northeast coast. Despite shared distant Nguni origins, they are differentiated today by language, culture, tradition, history, and other factors. They have in common remarkable traditions of beadwork, which, together with those of the Ndebele (a Nguni people of the interior), are outstanding among African beadwork.

Lesotho

Gary van Wyk

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa, where many of its citizens reside, bringing wages and Western clothing home to relatives. Traditional dress is still worn, especially at initiation ceremonies or when honoring the king. The founding ruler, Moshoeshoe I (d. 1870), solidified the Basotho nation by accepting various refugees fleeing troubles in southern Africa in the 1820s, Lesotho being named after the primary ethnic group. While he based Basotho traditions on the values of his people, the Koe

Other People's Clothes? The International Secondhand Clothing Trade and Dress Practices in Zambia

Karen Tranberg Hansen

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

In much of the West today, second-hand clothing makes up fringe, or niche, markets. Income distribution, purchasing power, affordable mass-produced garments and apparel, and concerns with fashion have reduced the need for large segments of the population to purchase used clothing. But well into the nineteenth century, used clothing constituted the effective market for much of the population except the very rich. Still in many countries in the Third World today, where the cost factor is enormously

From Thrift to Fashion: Materiality and Aesthetics in Dress Practices in Zambia

Karen Tranberg Hansen

Source: Clothing as Material Culture 2005

Book chapter

Zambia is one of the world's least developed countries. This was not always the case, but the economy has been on a downward slide since the mid-1970s. Between 1980 and 1994, Zambia received numerous structural adjustment loans from the World Bank and its sister agency, the International Monetary Fund. Today Zambians are poorer, on a per capita basis, than they were at independence from British colonial rule in 1964 (UNDP 2001). Yet the enormous crossover appeal of secondhand clothing cannot be e

Crafting Appearances: The Second Hand Clothing Trade and Dress Practices in Zambia

Karen Tranberg Hansen

Source: Old Clothes, New Looks. Second Hand Fashion 2005

Book chapter

In much of the West today, shopping for second hand clothes has become a pastime rather than a need. Fashion conscious shoppers, both young and old, female and male, turn to the used clothing racks for vintage or retro looks. Charity shops offer a retail space for experimentation with the unknown, the imagined (Gregson, Brooks & Crewe, 2000). Across North America and Europe, second hand clothing makes up niche or fringe markets for consumers who are on the lookout for very specific garments. Ther

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Swazi Bridal Attire: Culture, Traditions and Customs

Lombuso S. Khoza and Laura K. Kidd

Source: Wedding Dress Across Cultures 2003

Book chapter

The Kingdom of Swaziland, a small, landlocked, mountainous country in southeastern Africa, 6,704 square miles (17,364 square kilometers) in area, is surrounded by South Africa in the north, west and south, and bordered by Mozambique to the east. The country’s current estimated population is 1,083,289. The Swazi people, descendant from the Nguni, historically have been able to maintain homogeneity and may be considered a “tribal-less” nation, sharing a common language and common cultural tradition

“The Fairest of Them All”: Gender, Ethnicity and a Beauty Pageant in the Kingdom of Swaziland

Carolyn Behrman

Source: Dress and Ethnicity. Change Across Space and Time 1995

Book chapter

In her discussion of representations of whiteness in the black imagination, bell hooks writes of the “looking relations” (1992: 340) between white supremacists and black slaves. Using Foucault’s concept of the gaze, she finds socio-political meaning in the structured ways that people see each other. In this chapter I wish to raise for consideration the possibility that looking relations focusing on ethnicity and gender between two groups of people can be used as political tools within one of thos

The Lady in the Logo: Tribal Dress and Western Culture in a Southern African Community

Deborah Durham

Source: Dress and Ethnicity. Change Across Space and Time 1995

Book chapter

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