When we visited Limpopo Province this past April, our tour group was thrilled to stop at an African trading store. Three generations of an Indian family had owned the store supplying fabric to the various groups in the area: the Shangaan, Tsonga and Venda.
Going into this rural fabric shop brought back memories of my youthful fabric buying forays and the start of my love affair with African fabric. Here below, Martha is chatting with a Shangaan woman dressed in Minceka, which consist of two rectangular cloths wrapped around the women’s bodies as clothing. Each cloth is draped and tied to the opposite shoulder.
A group of Venda women arrived in their characteristic brightly striped wraps. Their blouses were made of printed shwe-shwe indigo cotton. I’m planning to write a blog about shwe-shwe in the coming months. The Venda women tie a bright stripy cotton wrap over one shoulder. The wraps are embellished with ribbon and braids to make the striped design more complex. Watch for upcoming blogs on more of my adventure in South Africa.