Pics: Traditional South African clothing for different ethnic groups in the country

Pics: Traditional South African clothing for different ethnic groups in the country

Traditional fusion with the current modern fashion brings out classic designs that are quite captivating. South African clothing for both men and women is unique and eye-catchy. The dressing ensures that traditional beliefs and different customs are respected depending on the individuals wearing the outfits.

South African clothing
Image:, @South African traditional attires
Source: UGC

The country has many fashion designers, both locally and internationally, who are undoubtedly talented. South African clothing designs are quite competitive in terms of fabric, style, colour combinations, and appearance. Traditionally, social status and age are of importance in the community perceived from a person’s dressing. For this reason, dressing is an integral part of most societies.

South African clothing

The traditional touch to the fashion industry makes it more unique and exciting to venture into South African traditional wear. The different cultures in the country also have their attires to wear on various occasions with specific meanings in the community. What kind of clothing do South Africans wear? The modern culture brought a new touch of fashion to both men and women, as described below.

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1. Colourful patterns

A woman brings out her strength and boldness through the attire and clothing that she has on. The colourful patterns on the dress are quite attractive, giving the dress a bright and beautiful look. Not only does her V-shaped dress look riveting but also brings out the sassy traditional and modern look. This dress is one of the modernized South African traditional dresses in the fashion industry. This traditional dress is very stunning.

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2. Classic men’s cultural wear

The combination of colours in this photo is quite impressive. The bright African coat blends well with the whole manly look bringing out a mix of conventional-modern fashion designs.

Traditional clothes

The different ethnic groups in the country also have their specific clothing for different occasions. These ethnic groups highly value their dressing code during special events as a way of promoting their cultural heritage. Some of the various cultural groups and their style of dressing during different occasions include:

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What traditional clothes do Zulus wear? The Zulu people are known to be colourful and vibrant in their choice of dressing. Below are some of the occasions and their type of clothing.

1. Wedding events

Wedding occasions mark a critical stage in the Zulu community. The most intriguing part of the Zulu traditional clothing is the bright combination of colours of the fabric and beads. This photo shows the bright red wedding hat (izicolo) that is an essential part of the clothing. The upper part of the dress has traditional designs of colourful shapes and artwork on it, bringing the artistic touch to life. The izicolo, made from sisal, uses beads as decoration.

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A bride is not fully complete without her bridesmaids. These beautiful bridesmaids have a similar attire to the bride but in a different colour. The skirts and the top to cover the upper part can be of the same or different shade. The girls usually wear bright beaded waist chains and other beadworks on their legs.

The Zulu traditional attire for men during a wedding includes a headband worn by married men. He may also wear a leopard skin to accompany the headband. This outfit is also known as the Ibheshu outfit. The leopard is usually known to be the leader of predators. Hence, the leopard skin used to be worn by Zulu royalty.

2. Dance attires

The photo captures a group of women performing a dance celebrating the engagement of a Zulu couple. The ladies have short black skirts decorated with colourful beads. They are wearing black tops with beaded head scarfs. The brightly beaded waist chains make the whole dance celebration riveting.

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Xhosa clothing includes very complex and diverse styles of dressing. The men in the community are considered warriors, hunters; hence the animal skin is essential. What traditional clothes do Xhosa wear?

1. Xhosa wedding clothing

Both the bride and groom are rocking the bright white Xhosa wedding attire with distinct beadwork accessories on their heads. The groom has a rectangular cloth on his shoulder that blends well with the black clothing. The beautiful bride has a black scarf to cover her head and a fitting white dress decorated with black artwork both on the shoulders and front sides. Only married women wear the headscarf.

So what do you wear to a Xhosa traditional wedding? Well, a lady will require a headscarf if she is married. If not, a simple beaded headset would still do. Beaded necklaces for your neck could also blend well with the Xhosa traditional dresses. Xhosa dresses are quite eye-catching as the beads, and colourful artwork makes them suitable for conventional wedding events. A simple African shirt and a rectangular cloth on the left shoulder would be ideal for a man attending the wedding.

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2. Dance costume

These Xhosa dancers are dressed to perform their traditional dance. They are all wearing accessories on their ankles to provide rhythmic sounds while moving. Part of the attire is the black and white rod-like item on their hands. The green sisal costume on their waist enhances the body movement.


An essential part of Ndebele traditional dresses for a woman is her apron. Married women wear longer aprons while young unmarried girls put on slightly shorter ones. The men wear iporiyana type of aprons that hang from the neck.

1. Ndebele clothing for a wedding

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This bride is looking gorgeous in her bright multi-coloured traditional apron decorated with white beads on the edges. Additionally, the colourful tribal art on the apron matches with those on her hat. The beautiful accessories on her neck and waist complement the whole look.

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Tsonga traditional clothes are usually based on animal skin and beads. The ladies wear xibelani, a type of skirt made from gathered fabrics. The men put on animal skin as part of their attire.

1. Wedding clothing

This Tsonga couple looks stunning in their yellow Tsonga traditional attire. The bride has her dress designed with gathered lace on her waist, giving the dress a beautiful shape. The yellow headband looks fantastic on her head. The groom also looks stunning with his bride.


Below is a clothing style typical for the Venda people.

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1. Traditional wedding clothing

The beautiful lady has a brightly-coloured apron pinned together to cover her chest and one arm. The gorgeous multi-coloured necklace also complements the whole stunning traditional look. The white closed shoes express simplicity.

Most traditional South African clothing embraces modernization as a way of keeping the cultural attires alive. The different cultures ensure that the younger generation remembers their origins by wearing their traditional attires to special occasions. The beauty and vibrancy shown by the people of South Africa through fashion are quite ravishing.

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Source: Briefly News

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