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.