South African National Costume
The first thing you need to understand about the South African national costume is that it will differ from one region to another as each tribe has its own. In this article we explain a little more about what sorts of costumes worn by the women of these tribes that have been part of South Africa’s history for many centuries now.
The outfit that is worn by the young women of this tribe is made entirely from beads. Just like all other costumes that come from South Africa these tend only to be worn on special occasions such as during festivals or as part of a dance ceremony.
This is what many people believe to be the true South African national costume as it is the one that is most frequently seen because the people of this tribe are the most prominent in all of the country.
2. Ndbele Tribe
This tribe is located in the Gauteng Province of South Africa and there actually costume is very colourful and has lots of artistic beadwork on it. The costumes worn by the women of this tribe differ quite a lot dependent on their age and whether they are married or not.
For the young girls of the tribe their South African national costume comprises of a skirt, a beaded apron and bodice to help cover their breasts. They also are required to wear a necklace or two along with earrings, a neck back and several leg and armbands.
As for girls who have reached adolescence they again are required to wear a beaded bodice, but the skirt is made up of two layers of cloth. Furthermore around the neck, head, arms and legs several bands will be worn.
Finally for the women who are married along with the clothes worn by the adolescent girls they will also be required to wear a colourful beaded cloak.
3. Xhosa Tribe
Just as with the Ndbele Tribe the costumes worn by the women of this one will differ dependent upon their marital status. For the single women their costume comprises a blanket draped over them under which is worn a very elaborate beaded band around the neck known as a “Gorget”. As for her arms she will wear bands made from copper and also she wear ones made from weaved grass and beads.
When it comes to the married women of the Xhosa tribe their South African national costume typically is made up of a skirt that wraps around them and a cloak. They also carry a beaded bag in which they are allowed to carry their smoking accessories, as it is only these women who are allowed to smoke.
Of course for those people who are not members of these tribes then the more common form of South African national costume worn by them is that known as the BouBou. This is very similar in design to a caftan and comes in a wide selection of very exotic colors and designs.