African Attire on Fleek picnic celebrates African fashion

The event will be headlined by South African singer Simmy of sonini fame PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The event will be headlined by South African singer Simmy of sonini fame PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Different tribes throughout the continent pride themselves in their national dress, which they use for ceremonies, special occasions and more.

That is why we have seen many event coordinators coming up with events that celebrate African attire and culture. One of the local events coordinators, David Letshwiti will be coordinating the African Attire on Fleek, an event that celebrates the beauty and creativity of Africa through African fashion with a fusion of western design.  This event would be held at Bojanala Waterfront in Gaborone on March 2, 2019. Letshwiti told Arts & Culture that Botswana prides itself mainly with Leteisi or German print commonly worn at formal ocassions like weddings and kgotla meetings.

Leteisi features  different patterns and colours. “African clothing is taking the fashion industry by storm these days, as it is the beautiful combination of traditional and modern clothing.

The current form of African fashion is the result of gradual change over a century when Arab and European traders entered in African clothing.  Modern Africans like to wear European outfits, but on the eve of special occasions and for the people living in remote areas, only traditional attires are worn,” he said.

There are many varied styles of dress and the type of cloth plays an integral role in fashioning the garment.  The fabric often reflects the society in general as well as the status of individuals or groups within that community.

In some instances, traditional robes have been replaced or influenced by foreign cultures, like colonial impact or western popular dress codes.

The evolution of dress in Africa is very difficult to trace due to the lack of written word and actual historical evidence. Much is pieced together from various sources like traditional robes being handed down to present day tribal members, word of mouth (oral history), theatre (masquerades) and from art and artifacts which show sculptural representations of dress.

Letshwiti also stated that different African clothing styles have gained popularity in a lot of Batswana’s wardrobes. Those include Kaftans, the most liked attire of both African men and women.  He said it was usually made of cotton and silk with light embroidery over it. It is also known as boubous that are full-length robes.

Initially, the trend of wearing kaftans was only specific to West African countries like Ghana, Senegal and Mali. “African clothing for women includes the print and colours of African clothing distinguished by colours.

“Beads and embroidery are essential parts of traditional women’s attire and they are always seen with heavy jewellery made of stones and copper. “Skirts are the popular African attire amongst young girls,” he said. Letshwiti further explained that Africans love to follow their rituals at weddings and choose traditional attire on their weddings. 

He said the Zulus of South Africa were still stuck to their cultural attire and wear leopard skin and dyed feathers, beaded necklaces and hoops are used to adorn their outfits. He said though a big change has been witnessed in African clothing, there was no change in the clothing of the Zulus. 

He added that African Attire on Fleek event would be hosting its first event and already promises success the buzz and the way the tickets are selling. Artists billed to perform at the event during the day are Simmy, Dr Vom, Mafitlhakgosi, Lizibo, Sebaga, Kabelo Tiro, Jazz Man and others.

Early bird double tickets cost P200. Early bird single tickets cost P150. Early bird kids’ single tickets will be sold at P70, kids’ double tickets will be sold at P80.  They will be sold till February 4, 2019 from all Super Spars and Webticket kiosks.

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