Thursday, 14 February 2013

Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses

Source(google.com.pk)
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses Biography

A few months ago I was aked by a customer to make her two pairs of wedding shoes. The one pair she would wear with her white dress on her wedding day and the other pair she would wear with her traditional Xhosa dress for the traditional Xhosa wedding ceremony.
I made her these red shwe-shwe brogue style ballet flats(above). I think they came out beautiful!
The second pair is the Bimbow bride in soft nappa leather and a silk satin bow.
 About Shwe-shwe fabric:
Shwe-shwe fabric has a long history in South Africa. Shwe-shwe is an indigo-dyed discharge printed fabric. Historians claim that the indigo cloth arrived in South Africa more than 2000 years ago, used as trade goods by Arabs and Indians. In the mid 1800s, German settlers introduced it to the Xhosa people,  the brilliant colour appealed to the Xhosa women and they made it their own. Wearing shwe-shwe cloth has become a tradition within the Xhosa culture, worn by newly married women, to show their marriage status. Traditionally the fabric came in three colours, blue, red and brown, now one can find it in many other colours including orange, pink and green.
Duduzile is a daughter of South African President Jacob Zuma.

She celebrated her wedding in April, the bride wore a white of-the-shoulder gown encrusted with Swarovski crystals, a custom-made diamond necklace and a pair of silver Christian Louboutin shoes.
Her four bridesmaids were dressed in red gowns. Simple and stunning Xhosa girl.

Traditional Xhosa weddings differ quite substantially from those of the West, although the trend today is to perform both sets of ceremonies.
The traditional process of marriage begins with the ukutwala, roughly translated as ‘the taking’, which occurs after a groom’s family has chosen a suitable bride for him. The men of the groom’s family house, where she will awake the next morning. It is important to know that the ukutwala is not a ‘kidnapping’, the prospective bride is not harmed and may return to her family, rather it is a formal method of signifying the intention to marry, and such begins the betrothal process.
After the ukutwala the groom’s family will begin negotiating the marriage and lobola with the bride’s family. Lobola is not a ‘bride-price’, but a means of establishing a link between the two families. The size of lobola varies considerably depending on the relative wealth and status of the families, the advantage to gain from the marriage link, and the desirability of the bride.
Traditionally lobola usually amounted to eight heads of cattle, and today the value of each head of cattle forms part of the overall negotiation. However there is a Xhosa saying, ‘one never stops paying lobola’, which means the family link is the important part of lobola, a union that must be constantly renewed by visiting one’s in-laws, inviting them round, and in general maintaining very good familial relationships.
Once the lobola is finalized the marriage can take place. On an appointed day the bride’s family will bring to the groom’s house, amidst celebrations in which animals are slaughtered as a sacrifice to the ancestors, inviting them to bless the occasion and introducing the bride to them. There are no formal invitations for this event, rather whoever wishes to, can participate in the celebrations, often leading to very large crowds.
The whole event is joyous and very communal in spirit, ad the celebrations go on for at least two days at the bride’s home and the groom’s (especially the groom’s). the final stage of the marriage occurs when the bride and groom show themselves to the community by walking along the main road together (knowing as ukucanda ibala).
For modern urban weddings. Most couples prefer to perform both the traditional weding and the modern civil ceremony, often with a church service and reception. Today the bride and groom are far more familiar before the marriage process begins, with the ukutwala uncommon, and when it does happen the bride knows of it beforehand (though the actual event may still a surprise).
More commonly, the groom makes a formal marriage proposal, which if accepted he will send a delegation to the bride’s family to negotiate lobola. The large communal wedding is still very much the preferred, but it is either preceded or followed by the civil act of signing the register (on a different day to the main ceremony).
A church wedding can also take place, in which the bride either wears white or dresses in the more colourful East African style. Following a church wedding the families sometimes host host a formal receptions, separate to the traditional ceremony, which may either be restricted to guests or open to all.

Spending a childhood in Cape Town one becomes familiar with the local Xhosa people. So many times along the way we forget to ask the people that walk along-side us in this beautiful country, what it is that they believe and how do they share their moments with those they love and where do they come from.This brief look into the tradition of Xhosa weddings and history of the people will hopefully allow you for a moment to consider the cultures of those around us. Maybe even celebrate in the colour and spirit of it all.
A brief history into the Xhosa people, at the time of white settlement in the Cape there were Xhosa groups living far inland, from 1770 onwards the Trek Boers who had approached from the West confronted them. Both the Boers and the Xhosa were stock farmers and this led to competition for grazing lands, which led to quarrels and then wars. By the middle of the 19th century all the land, which had been inhabited by the Xhosa people, was now in the hands of the white settlers. After the union in 1910 when the ‘democratic’ state was formed and black people were subjected to policies of concealed expatriation.
Through the Native land law where a small percentage of land was reserved for black people the Homelands of the Ciskei and the Transkei were declared settlements for the Xhosa people. Only after free and fair elections in 1994 was the homeland policy abolished and these areas were integrated into the new provinces.

Spending a childhood in Cape Town one becomes familiar with the local Xhosa people. So many times along the way we forget to ask the people that walk along-side us in this beautiful country, what it is that they believe and how do they share their moments with those they love and where do they come from.This brief look into the tradition of Xhosa weddings and history of the people will hopefully allow you for a moment to consider the cultures of those around us. Maybe even celebrate in the colour and spirit of it all.
A brief history into the Xhosa people, at the time of white settlement in the Cape there were Xhosa groups living far inland, from 1770 onwards the Trek Boers who had approached from the West confronted them. Both the Boers and the Xhosa were stock farmers and this led to competition for grazing lands, which led to quarrels and then wars. By the middle of the 19th century all the land, which had been inhabited by the Xhosa people, was now in the hands of the white settlers. After the union in 1910 when the ‘democratic’ state was formed and black people were subjected to policies of concealed expatriation.
Through the Native land law where a small percentage of land was reserved for black people the Homelands of the Ciskei and the Transkei were declared settlements for the Xhosa people. Only after free and fair elections in 1994 was the homeland policy abolished and these areas were integrated into the new provinces.
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses






3 comments:

  1. The blog article very surprised to me! Your writing is good. In this I learned a lot! Thank you! I like the way you blogged about this topic.Austin Bride

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  2. Well great post! nice use of pictures. I get to know about different wedding dresses of different cultures. this effort id really appreciated to do that research and make a article for us. Thanks
    here you can Indian Wedding Dresses that are attractive and trendy.

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  3. My wedding will just be a few months away and now I am looking for wedding dresses that will suit me and our theme.. Thanks for sharing these helpful ideas...

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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