When growing up, the only guys in our town that had tattoos were considered as gang members and hooligans.
However, these days though tattoos are quite fashionable and young and old, male and female are getting hooked on tattoos. There are even a couple of older ladies who have had tattoos for their birthdays.
Back then and even today tattoos still posses different types of meaning and some people always choose to interpret what theirs means from their own perceptions.
The elderly and mostly in the corporate world have seen them as a sign of rebellion, whereas there are those tattoos that depict love. Other people have found this type of body art fascinating and worth doing just to feel different and unique. There are the ones that always sparked debates especially when they are viewed rebellious or related to gang memberships.
Mmegi has learnt that the word tattoo is said to have two major derivations- from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’. Believe it or not, some scientists say that certain marks on the skin of the Iceman, a mummified human body dating from about 3300 B.C., are tattoos.
If that ’s true, these markings represent the earliest known evidence of the practice.
Tattoos found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies date from about 2000 B.C. In 1991, a five thousand year old tattooed mummified man, made the headlines of newspapers all over the world when his frozen body was discovered on a mountain between Austria and Italy. He had apparently been hunting and was caught in a snowstorm as he tried to return home.
Together with the body were clothing, a bow and arrows, a bronze axe and flint for making fire. They realised that he was more than 5,000 years-old.
He had been under ice for all those years, so his body, clothes and equipment was extra-ordinarily well preserved.
He had 58 tattoos on his body. His tattoos were only simple dots and little lines. Since the tattoos do not represent anything - like animals and the like, speculation has been made as to their meaning.
The truth will never be found, but theories and speculations will be made.
In an enlightening conversation with one of Botswana's top tattooist, Obakeng Loy Segokgo, says tattoos are all done in a very distinct style, achieving this casual elegance takes practice. "Those choosing to go with the tattoo look will find it does require a little more than average amounts of maintenance." Loy Segokgo explains that for the past few years he had been doing body art on many different people of different cultures and professions around Gaborone and South Africa, and has never really experienced any difficulty or complications with his clients.
He says he started as a fine artist back in school, "but in recent years, I developed interest in body art, I am quite amazed at the skill I have acquired in such a short time," he says. He says he manages to earn a decent living by tattooing, mostly varsity students coming in large numbers. He refutes that the local industry is still lagging behind and the business seems too stagnant at times.
Elaborating on different types of tattoos he says, where any image is drawn with a realistic look, whether it be a floral design, an animal, or any other image in it's natural state are considered naturalistic tattoos, he says.
According to Loy Segokgo, the skill level required to ink these designs varies according to the image selected, but for the most part, the artistic and technical talent required is high. He says the other type he explained was the stylised tattoos which are one of the most difficult types to ink, some common images for these types of tattoos, are hearts, flowers, zodiac signs or even faces of men and women. "These types of tattoos will reflect the artistic style of the tattooist." "Abstract tattoos were born of the first body art ever recorded, dating back thousands of years. Originally of tribal roots or oriental scripts, these early types of tattoos are some of the most popular today, he points out. Which ever tattoo a client chooses, he says they have to remember that the design choice is an expression to them and "their unique personality, not only as it is today, but tomorrow as well, the image they choose will be there forever."
However, considering the permanency, "tattoos can be removed through laser surgery and they have it in South Africa and other countries," he adds. Thato Tshireletso, ABM student says, some tattoos express personal, meaningful art or messages. "Therefore, one may do a tattoo to express love, but mostly, we student do them to feel or belong to a group and to be different,"he says. Loud, excessive tattoos can ruin your work prospects and hold you back in many ways. Life is transient, especially these days and the partner who so badly wants you to have a tattoo may only be around for a few years.
Will your next partner feel the same about tattoos? There are no guarantees that they will! However, what I am really trying to say is think very carefully before you have tattoos. If you decide that they are for you, consider the placement and type of tattoo. Make sure that the tattooist is reputable, has a well-established business and a proven track record. If you do not you could end up with more than just a tattoo.