Swazi Lifestyle: Traditional Attire

SNTC, 2000.

There is a wide range of traditional attire related to different cultural ceremonies, as well as day-to-day usage. Traditional attire is specific to gender and age group, and some items are only to be worn during specific traditional ceremonies, such as the incwala or the umhlanga (reed dance).

Traditional attire for daily use


Age: up to 3 months
both male and female wear only protective medicines
Age: 3 months to 3 years
males wear tiny loin skin females wear nothing or string of beads
Age: 3 to 8 years
males wear loin skin females wear string of beads and skirt of grass or cloth
Age: 8 to 17 years males wear loin skin and start to wear penis cap Age: 8 to 15 years females wear skirt of grass or skirt and short toga of cloth, never long; bead necklaces
Age: Unmarried adults
males wear loin skins and cloth, bead ornaments females wear a dress of cloth, hair up, but in a small bun
Age: Married adults
males wear loin skin, cloths females: newly-weds wear skin apron and skin skirt, apron worn under the armpits; after birth of first child, raises apron over one shoulder; hair in a bun
Age: Grandparents
males wear loin skin, cloths and head ring females wear goatskin and cloths, hair in bun

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