R6095/5 Textile; Shweshwe

bright pink printed cotton shweshwe fabric

Shweshwe (Museum Accession Number R6095/5)

Shweshwe is a printed cotton fabric that is so ubiquitous in southern Africa that it has been called the denim of the region. The name is derived from King Moshoeshoe I of Lesotho (c. 1786 – 1870) who first popularised it. It is also known as German cloth after the Swiss and German settlers who imported the cloth to South Africa. Traditionally blue and white, modern shweshwe comes in a variety of bright colours such as this contemporary design from Da Gama. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.

Creator: Da Gama Textiles

Place: Zwelitsha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa

Date: 2008