R6106/1 Textile; Shweshwe

a sample of brown shweshwe fabric featuring Nelson Mandela, with a label reading 'Madiba's Range'

Shweshwe fabric (Museum Accession Number R6106)

This piece of shweshwe fabric is produced by Da Gama. Shweshwe is a printed cotton fabric that is so ubiquitous in southern Africa that it has been called the denim of the region. The fabric features portraits of Nelson Mandela or ‘Madiba’ as he was affectionately known in South Africa, and comes from the ‘Madiba’ limited edition range of designs made by Da Gama to celebrate Mandela’s life. This type of commemorative fabric is very popular all over Africa, and acts as a a form of communication and political affiliation through clothing. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.

Creator: Da Gama Textiles

Place: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa

Date: 2010s