isiShweshwe Collection: To show respect and submission to the authority of her husband and parents-in-law, traditional practice dictated that a newly-married Xhosa woman would wear her ikhetshemiya (headcloth) low over her forehead, keep her shoulders covered, cover her hips with a blanket and wear a isishweshwe skirt and apron. She should stay with her parents-in-law for up to a year, a period during which her behaviour conveyed that she adhered to ukuhlonipha traditions of respect. Aspects of this practice are still present but are being eroded with urbanization. Head cloth, blanket and towel on loan from Siphokazi Mesele, ne̩ Lindelwa Pamela Mbola, who wore them when she was makoti.


  • Title: Dress of Makoti or newly-married Xhosa woman
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2012
  • Location Created: Idutywa, Eastern Cape
  • Provenance: Juliette Leeb-Du Toit Collection, Iziko Soc Hist. D1
  • Photographer: David Larsen / Africa Media Online
  • Original Source: Iziko Museums of Cape Town
  • Rights: Iziko Museums of Cape Town
  • Medium: Da Gama 'Three Cats' fabric

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