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Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in African | 0 comments

Clothing of South African Zulu Tribe Women

Clothing of South African Zulu Tribe Women

South African zulu tribe clothing inspires images of rich colors and ceremonial dress but, the fact is, South African clothing is as diverse as the African continent. The Zulu tribe women dressing depends on whether they are single, engaged or married.

South African culture is incredibly interesting because it is so diverse. Every south African region is a mix of tribes each with their own unique language and culture, living and clothing. The idea of South African zulu tribe clothing inspires images of rich colors and ceremonial dress but, the fact is, South African clothing is as diverse as the African continent. South Africa’s ancient civilizations demonstrate the continent’s long history of creating clothing for utilitarian as well as celebratory and symbolic purposes. Despite its many variations, there are several unifying features of and facts about South African tribal clothing. Traditional attire of the Zulu people is very diverse for both men and women. The garb worn by these people of South Africa is influenced by such factors as religion, age, region, and the occasion the person is wearing clothes for.

Zulu – South African Tribe Women Clothing

Tribal & Traditional African women’s clothing are elegant. The women of the Zulu tribe wear clothes based on their marital status. Single women only wear short skirts made of grass or beaded cotton strings. They do not wear anything on the upper portion of their bodies and they keep their hair short. Engaged women let their hair grow and she covers her breast with a decorative cloth. This is a sign of respect to her future family; this also indicates to the community that she has been spoken for. Married women clothing rules are similar to the Bobo women. Married women must cover their bodies completely. This signals she is off limits to other men and they also have to wear a hat on their head. During her husband’s absences she could not take the hat off and pretend she was unmarried. Married Zulu women do not have to wear hats like the Bobo women.Clothing of South African Zulu Tribe Women

The women dress depends on whether they are single, engaged or married.

Unmarried Woman

Unmarried Woman who are avaiable are proud of displaying their figure/body. They wear a short skirt made of grass or beaded cotton strings and puts on a lot of creative beads. Clothing for Zulu girls is mainly made of beadwork and is usually revealing. They also wear isidwaba, a pleated skirt made of cowhide and softened by hand. Younger women sometimes decorate their skirts with beads.

Engaged Woman

Engaged Woman will let her traditionally short hair grow. They cover their breast with a decorative cloth. This shows respect for her future husband and family. Allows people to know that she is spoken for.

Married Woman

Married Woman covers her body completely signalling to other men that she is taken. When a young girl gets married, she then has to wear certain coloured beads in her hair and around her skirt so that everyone in the village can see that she is married.
Engaged Woman will let her traditionally short hair grow. They cover their breast with a decorative cloth. This shows respect for her future husband and family. Allows people to know that she is spoken for.

Interesting Facts about Zulu Traditional Clothing for Women

  • Women never wear anything revealing and their garments generally have very conservative colors.
  • Most zulu women wear full-length dresses that come in a variety of styles.
  • For formal events like weddings and religious celebrations, women commonly wear a dirac.
  • Traditionally a married woman will wear a scarf on her head.
  • The head would then be covered by a scarf or sometimes a wrap.
  • Some conservative Muslim women, in keeping with their Islamic beliefs, wear a burqa in public which is a garment that covers their entire body from head to foot.

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