Shweshwe cloth – ‘The tartan of South Africa’

Shweshwe cloth has its origins in fabrics introduced in the 19th century by German and French missionaries.

Not only is it a favourite in the production of traditional outfits, but it has also expanded to become a wider fashion item.

In keeping with the Zulu tradition of commemorative fabrics, a shweshwe has been produced for the centenary of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley. The fabric is in a striking shade of red and carries images of Archbishop Hurley’s face across the decades of his life.

Amongst the many events held in celebration of the late Archbishop’s 100th anniversary was the official opening of the new Denis Hurley Centre which serves as part of the inner city Mission of the Archdiocese. And one of the projects in motion is a sewing group – Sewing for Africa – where many items are being produced from the commemorative cloth for home use, and for apparel.

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