Plain white (or rarely crimson) wrappers are often worn by Xhosa people. In this example, a white cotton blanket was dyed with ocher to produce a beautiful reddish-brown cloth, which was then cut and sewed into three parts to construct this skirt. The belt is of leather; the sandals are of cow skin.
Xhosa culture has had a significant impact on modern South Africa. As one of the most widespread cultures in southern Africa, at one time or another Xhosa people have been enslaved by Europeans, fought alongside Africans against them, and even taken north as slaves themselves. Today, however, they make up part of the ethnic makeup of four different countries: South Africa, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
The Xhosa are a Bantu language group that originated in south-central Africa. They migrated west across the Kalahari Desert toward what is now South Africa, where they encountered another language group called the Khoisan. The two groups mixed together over time, forming a new race of people called the Zulu. Today, there are several subgroups of Xhosa people, all of whom speak different languages; these include the Eastern Xhosa, Northern Xhosa, and Western Xhosa.
In addition to being human beings, Xhosa people are also a religion and a culture.
Makoti Xhosa attire consists of three main items: shirt, pants, and shoes. The type of shirt worn depends on the occasion; for everyday use, a plain-colored button-up shirt is appropriate. For funerals or other important events, a dress shirt is required.
Shoes must be clean and polished to show respect for the dead. At a minimum, they should be black shoes with a bit of shine on them. Larger ceremonies may require leather shoes or even boots.
Pants are optional but common. If you wear pants, they should be dark colored trousers or jeans.
For men, a flat-top haircut is customary. Men should also wear their hair long if they want to appear respectful.
For women, braids or knots are commonly used to decorate the head. Women should wear dresses or skirts when attending services at a church or other place of worship. A white cloth is usually draped over the shoulder during prayers.
There are many more items of clothing that might be worn during different occasions.
The Xhosa people, like most other indigenous tribes in Africa, are recognized for their colorful traditional crafts such as beading, weaving, woodwork, and ceramics. Beads are often produced from natural materials such as wood, metal, nutshells, and bone seeds, although the usage of glass has crept into Xhosa bead-making. Weavings are used to make clothing and household items such as mats and baskets. Wood is used for tools, buildings, and weapons. Ceramics are used for cooking food and making containers.
In addition to these products, the Xhosa also make a variety of sculptures using clay. Some of the more famous artists include Umkhonto we Sizwe (the African National Liberation Army), which was founded by Nelson Mandela's group in 1961, and Thokoza, who is considered by some to be the father of modern sculpture because of his revolutionary work in 1951.
Thokoza taught villagers how to use clay to make figurines that could be painted and dressed up with jewelry. His work is on display in several museums throughout South Africa.
Today, many young Xhosa men will search for employment in larger cities, where they can earn a higher salary. This allows them to purchase goods that may not be available in small townships where they live.
The women of the Xhosa tribe are known for their embroidery skills.