South Africa is one of the most culturally endowed countries in Africa. South African cultural festivals, customs and dress code are confidently being upheld. In as much as westernisation is on the verge of doing away with the cultural beliefs of most African communities, South Africa still has its customs intact. South African traditional dresses are proof of this.
South African traditional dresses have become the epitome of nearly all occasions. The diversity in these outfits has made it more possible for people to pull them to whichever event. These clothes are so pretty that they are being worn in Africa and beyond. The fabric and designs that these traditional dresses come in have attracted the international market and spread African culture to other continents.
South African traditional dresses
South Africa is a country whose cultural beliefs are firmly rooted. Regardless of the tribe or region where one comes from, there are the customs that cannot go unnoticed. The boldest of them all is the African attire, the most significant through the South African traditional dresses.
1. Bold and beautiful in blue and white
2. Red with black and white prints never goes wrong
In as much as the designs for these attires has been modernised, the fabric used in the outfits has an African origin.
3. How about some modest prints on this canary fabric?
The print on the fabric uniquely represents the culture of a particular region.
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4. The colourful Zulu attire
For instance, the Zulu traditional dresses have a unique print that differentiates it from the Shweshwe conventional attire.
African traditional dresses
Each of the South African communities has significantly invested in its culture.
5. A little pop of rainbow colours still looks good
It is evident in the uniqueness of the traditional attire of each of the communities.
6. A beautiful pop of jazzy blue
Be it in the accessories or the colour of the fabric that each one of them is identified with, it is easy to determine the cultural origin that you are pulling.
7. A harmonious combination of blue and purple
Here are the options of African traditional dresses that you could go for if you are looking forward to attending any occasion.
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What do you wear to a Zulu wedding?
8. The multicoloured Zulu outfit
Zulu is a Bantu group in South Africa that occupies the KwaZulu-Natal province. Traditional Zulu dresses are the most common of all the South African traditional attires.
9. Brightly coloured accessories
The Zulu are famous for their bold and colourful beaded artwork. The conventional wedding outfit for the Zulu is a short leather skirt, commonly known as the ‘isidwaba'.
10. The 'isicwaya' and ‘isidwaba'
The top is a piece of cloth made from animal skin, called the ‘isicwaya' to cover the breasts, and a beaded hat called the ‘inkehli'. To complement the look, one wears colourful beaded bracelets and necklaces. These are what make up the Zulu traditional wedding dresses.
11. The colourful ‘inkehli'
Modern Zulu wedding attire comprises of a skirt made out of fabric and top. The most preferred colours for the skirt and top are white, black or yellow. With this fabric, they make the ‘isidwaba' and ‘isicwaya'.
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12. A splashy red ‘inkehli'
They then make a colourful ‘inkehli' and accessorise the look with a pretty statement beaded necklace, earrings, and bracelets.
13. Brightly coloured accessories
14. The beauty of traditional Zulu dresses
If you are looking forward to attending a Zulu wedding, you can invest in the beaded artwork, and you will be good to go. You can alternatively pull the traditional Zulu wedding attire.
Shweshwe traditional dresses
Shweshwe is a conventional fabric made of cotton and dyed in different geometric patterns. Shweshwe traditional dresses are among the most common conventional outfits.
15. The warm blend of blue and orange
Their diversity is because of the different prints and colours that the fabric comes in.
16. The glowing orange and yellow combination
The Shweshwe traditional fabric was initially used to make Shweshwe gowns.
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17. Modest green and yellow print
Xhosa women who had just gotten married wear these Shweshwe traditional dresses.
18. The soft blue and white print
Married Sotho women also wear these outfits.
Xhosa traditional dresses
The Xhosa is another dominant ethnic group in South Africa. The Xhosa occupy the Eastern Cape Province. This is another South African tribe whose culture is richly endowed.
19. The rich black stripes
The Xhosa, in most cases, are associated with the umbhaco.
20. Harmonious stripes on solid colours
If you wish to pull the Xhosa traditional dresses design, you can do so by wearing the modern Xhosa fabric.
21. The black and white blend
22. The gay stripped vibe on black
Beautiful strips characterise the modern Xhosa fabric. With this fabric, you can up with the ‘umbhaco'.
23. A beautiful orange and black mix
24. Beaded details on the Xhosa fabric
You can pull the ‘iqhiya', made from the same cloth, and accessorise your look with beaded artwork.
What is Umbhaco?
25. The printed 'umbhaco'
The Xhosa have a uniquely beautiful attire. Their clothing is unique since it is decorated with beads, and each of the different pieces of clothes has a particular body part where it is worn. The innermost piece of cloth is the ‘incebetha', which is the bra. The second one is ‘ifulu'. The ‘ifulu' is worn beneath the belt.
26. Xhosa-printed 'umbhaco'
To add a little humour to the look, the women wear beaded artwork on their waists and feet.
Venda traditional dresses
Venda is a Bantu community in the northern parts of South Africa.
27. A clean blend of pink and blue
Venda traditional dresses are among the most colourful and vibrant traditional wedding dresses.
READ ALSO: Venda culture, wedding, traditional clothing, food, language and facts
28. A festive Venda colour blend
In most occasions, Venda conventional outfits are a combination of bright colours such as yellow, blue, and red.
29. Mellow yellow
The fabric has a striped detail that gives it a pattern.
30. The match Venda pattern on blue
31. The modesty of yellow on white
The dresses are accessorised with a matching necklace and bangles.
Sepedi traditional dresses
32. A jazzy blend of yellow, blue, and pink
Sepedi is also a Bantu speaking tribe in the northern parts of South Africa.
33. A showy combination of blue and pink on yellow
34. A splashy mix of pink and blue
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35. A vibrant mix of yellow, blue and orange
Just like the Venda, the Sepedi traditional dresses are a culmination of bright and vibrant colours.
36. A warm blend of white and fuscia
37. A rich combination of fuscia and yellow
Tsonga traditional dresses
38. Colourful floral prints on magenta
39. Colourful floral prints on yellow
40. Pure floral print on blue
41. Bold blue and yellow blend
42. The colourful Tsonga attire
Their fabric in most cases is a combination of pink, yellow, green and blue.
43. A beautiful ‘xibelani’
Their outfit in most cases is a short skirt, the ‘xibelani’ that is worn by young and old women. This skirt is ideal for dancing.
Tswana traditional dresses
44. The restrained white and blue print
Tswana traditional dresses are less popping as compared to the Tsonga and Sepedi dresses.
45. Stylish spruce on printed blue fabric
The fabric of these attires tends to look like that of the Shweshwe.
46. Antique prints on neutral blue fabric
Sotho traditional dresses
47. The restrained Sotho print
Sotho traditional dresses are also not as bright as those of the Sepedi.
48. The glamorous lace detail blends perfectly with the Sotho fabric
The lace detail gives this dress a classy look.
49. Geometric print on the Sotho fabric
Sotho traditional dresses can stand out when paired with warm colours.
50. Medium blue and white print and the netty detail
The fabric of the print has a smaller print, just like Tswana and Shweshwe dresses.
South African culture is richly invested in these African traditional dresses. Regardless of the tribe that the wearer is embracing, these outfits have a unique way of standing out. They are easy to model into modern designs. They are also diverse and are ideal for any event. You should make a point of getting one of these beautiful outfits.
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