I find it fascinating how the senses – what you see, smell, hear, taste and feel – take you back in time to memorable encounters. This is what happens when I feel and smell the beautiful Seshweshwe material.
Growing up on the Botswana/Namibia border in Charleshill village, I would attend life events with my ouma. Celebrations were personified and one could almost identify an occasion by the attire worn.
Back then, all black was only worn at funerals as a sign of mourning and the doek or headwear, was worn as a sign of respect. I remember the symbolic blankets worn by the makoti (bride-to-be or daughter-in-law) and her female, bridal entourage; as well as the traditional blue and brown geometric dresses.
When people wear swank, I hope that similar memories are created. I once heard that you should always carry a blanket and a knife, so that ‘you can sleep and you can eat.’
African tradition is rich and deeply embedded in its children.