As South Africans, we are all aware of our conflict-ridden past and of what had to be sacrificed for all South African citizens to be equal. In taking note of Freedom Day on 27th April every year, we are commemorating those sacrifices and celebrating a free South Africa, marked by the first ever truly democratic elections in 1994, after which Nelson Mandela was elected as president.
One of the things to celebrate about South Africa this Freedom Day is the melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions that make up Mzansi. And one of the easiest ways to support other South Africans is by purchasing handmade goods made by local artisans and craftspeople celebrating South Africa’s varied heritage. After all, Local is Lekker!
While many fashions and fabrics are unique to South Africa, one of the most striking of these is Shweshwe, a dyed and printed cotton fabric used in traditional South-African clothing. While the Xhosa people initially used it, it has now come to represent traditional South Africa. Originally made purely with indigo, it’s now made in various colours and designs, featuring intricate geometric patterns.
Shweshwe fabric is highly regarded for its durability and colour fastness and is often passed down through generations as a cherished family heirloom. There are many spectacular Shweshwe products on Moksi.
The adorable Lily Giraffe Shweshwe Soft Toy comes in three different colours:
Check out this bright and beautiful Pink Shweshwe Cushion with blue piping detail:
Step out in style with this Floral Cotton Shweshwe Tote Bag:
It may surprise you, but the South African walking shoes known as “Vellies” (Velskoene) originated in the 17th Century! It is believed that the first Dutch settlers in South Africa observed the design of traditional Khoisan footwear and then adapted that design into what we know today as Vellies.
Lightweight, rugged, and easy to make, Vellies have become embedded into South African culture: they were worn along the Great Trek, in the 1980s they became a fashion statement of individual thought, and in 2020 the South African Olympic team wore them as part of their off-field attire celebrating South Africa’s rich heritage.
This pair combines Vellies with an eye-catching Periwinkle Paisley Shweshwe:
This pair also combines shweshwe with Vellies, and is a striking black colour:
Babies can be just as stylish with this pair of Shoezies, a baby sized Vellie:
South Africa’s landmass has a distinctive shape, showcasing that we are the southernmost tip of Africa, with a coastline stretching more than 3 000 km and a Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. In addition to the beautiful climate, part of Mzansi’s natural beauty is the sheer variety of awesome fauna and flora. It is home to 300 mammal species, 860 bird species and 8 000 plant species. And adding to our rich heritage is that South Africa is the cradle of humankind, with over 40% of all Hominid fossil finds on Earth.
One of the easiest ways to show your love of the country is to wear or display our distinctive geographical outline or the map of Africa with the tip highlighted. They are also great gifts to friends or family based in other countries.
Check out these Handmade Striped Sandals with little African maps on them:
There is also this stunning black T-Shirt boasting the South African Map in Animal Print, available in 4 different sizes:
Combining shweshwe with proudly these proudly African earrings are a winning combo:
Another instantly recognisable representation of South Africa is the South African flag. Highly distinctive, the new flag, also known as the Seskleur (Six Colour) or the Rainbow Flag, at the time of its adoption in 1994 was the only national flag in the world to use six colours.
Three of these colours, red, white, and blue, were chosen from the flags of the Netherlands and the Union Jack, while the remaining three, of green, white, and gold, were chosen because they are the colours of the ANC flag. Did you know that the first time this flag was flown was on Freedom Day, 27 April 1994?
This educational wooden South African flag puzzle is perfect for the little ones:
Adorn your ears with your heritage with these SA flag resin earrings:
Decorate your table in style with this proudly South African Tablecloth: