By Charlotte Grieg, Robert Lee Humphrey
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58 Africa p50-59 CH05 19/09/02 16:12 Page 59 SOUTH AFRICA This Ndebele woman wears a ﬁnely worked bead headdress in a traditional style, along with bead necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Her only other clothing is a short skirt. Knobkerries and spears are carried as part of the full traditional regalia. In the past, fur and leather shoulder capes and headdresses were worn, but these are not often seen now. Tribal Revival Other ethnic groups of South Africa, such as Cape Malays, have their own styles of dress.
Dinka girls also wear beautiful bodices made of strands of beads that are looped to a central piece, which is designed to show off their bodies. Additional adornments include metal necklaces and belts in pointed triangular shapes. Traditionally, nothing else is worn with these corsets and bodices, although today, the authorities have ruled that covering clothing should be worn, especially in towns. However, in rural areas, the dignity and grace of the Nilotic peoples, with their naked, adorned bodies, are still an impressive part of the culture of East Africa.
Their tribal dress is now seen primarily at special events and ceremonies. Traditional costume includes a long turquoise necklace reaching to the waist, called a danga, which is worn by both men and women. The men also wear goatskin bags made by pulling the animal’s body out of its skin in such a way that the skin remains whole. 57 Africa p50-59 CH05 19/09/02 16:12 Page 58 AFRICA Young Xhosa girls wear a short, plain skirt and go bare-breasted. They also wear head cloths as a mark of respect to older tribe members.
Africa (Cultures and Costumes) by Charlotte Grieg, Robert Lee Humphrey