Thursday, October 17, 2013

I found these beautiful portraits on the Stevenson Gallery's website.  These Cape Tonians were photographed in their traditional dress by Andrew Putter as part of a body of work he produced titled 
Native Work.  They are all Xhosa.  The sitters were asked to dress themselves in a way they see themselves traditionally.  Seeing these images really makes me feel proud to be linked to a culture, a world beyond the one we are always plugged into.  That I have a world view influenced by having a foot in both cultures is something significant.  That first image with the young girl smoking the pipe is how I would see myself too.  Although last Friday night, I was playing dress up trying to look like this hot property

Obviously I'm a total amateur when it comes to ukuthwala iqhiya (wrapping a head wrap). I don't even have umbhaco (starchy traditional xhosa fabric) in my apartment but I was trying it with the cloth I had.  I bought a beautiful Xhosa blanket at the Wits University Origins Centre a few weeks ago, a white blanket traditionally used for initiates for ulwaluko (the traditional initiation ceremony for teenage boys who become men after they are circumcised).  I'm trying to come up with a look that I can wear out, something that appropriates the culture I was born with fused with the culture I am now a part of. 

This is a work in progress.  Will keep practicing the headwrap until I get it right. 


Sindie Noqayi said...

Le yokuqala is indeed everything. Xa bendiyibona ku Instagram wakho the question I have had for a very long time got answered instantly. What are young Xhosa women supposed to dress like traditionally because history mostly depicts Xhosa initiates and old Xhosa women. It leaves out us young women and older men. Nam ndiyabawela ukuba nombhaco nazo zonce iinkciyo zakwa Xhosa, but all in due time I guess. Thanks for the lovely post.

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