Shweshwe is a fabric which is sometimes called "Three Cats". This is a reference to a specific logo and brand of fabric that was originally produced in the UK, but is now printed by Da Gama Textiles in South Africa.
Shweshwe fabrics are printed in three colors: Indigo blue, red and chocolate brown. Plus the fancy range; this adds a touch of gold indigo blue. All fabrics are 100% cotton. Because these fabrics are starched when they are printed, they are quite stiff when new. After washing, they are lovely and soft and easy to work with.
Although historians claim that indigo cloth arrived in Africa over 2000 years ago, the Shweshwe fabric became popular in South Africa when German settlers introduced it to the Xhosa people in the mid-1800s. Xhosa women fell in love with the Shweshwe fabric and made it their own.
The printing process involves passing the fabric pass through copper rollers that have patterns cut on the surface and allowing a discharge of solution into the fabric. Subsequent distinct finishing processes create intricate and beautiful patterns.
The typical use of the fabric is for traditional ceremonies in the rural areas, thus ensuring a constant demand for this particular fabric.
In certain cases special designs are produced for important occasions such as royal birthdays and national festivals.
Today this fabric has become fashionable beyond its traditional sphere of usage because young South African designers renewed their interest in their traditional national heritage.
Shweshwe just like the name implies are charming figures and living stories of hope. Won't you love to be admired when you're out there?
I highly recommend you try Shweshwe out...I bet you going to love it....and in case you don't, I bet you will.
Ruth Dulac- I just write.