traditional african print

This is Africa!

I recently had the opportunity to graduate for my first undergrad. According to my transcript and the paper in my hand, I know a thing or two when it comes to Economics. I decided that I wouldn’t wear a suit to my graduation as I felt that it represented very little about what the degree means to me. My knowledge in Economics means that I now have a platform from which I can contribute further to the development of Africa.

As a Tsonga man, I decided to wear my traditional attire. Very similar to that of the Zulu and Swazi people. The experience of seeing the pride in the eyes of African people who were reminded of how beautiful Africa and it’s people are was one that I must say was overwhelming. Getting on the stage and hearing the cheers of those who felt that someone was representing a piece of them which is often looked down upon in a way that said take pride in who you are, was one that hits home. 

I did however bump into people who tried to make a little mockery that I decided to have none of as an African warrior. I remember looking one man dead in the eye and telling him that I am not dressed like a woman, but a warrior ready for war. He took his comment back and we exchanged smiles thereafter.

Society tells me that when I am dressed my best is when I am in a suit. I refuse. I believe that when I am at my best is when I most represent who  I am and where I come from. When I speak for all those before me who set the platform for me to be the man that stands before you today. I am not one to dictate whether you should wear a bandage dress, three piece suit or traditional clothing for your big days; But I will however suggest that whatever you decide on, let it not be from what society has limited you to. Let not society tell you who you are when you are something else. Be you and do you.

I thank the Lord that I got to graduate. I am thankful that not only did my graduation mean a lot to my family, but also to those who attended and those who may have a different perspective about being proud of who they are as a result. Thank you University of the Western Cape for helping mould me into an Economist.

Before anyone tells you how you ought to look because that is what they deem to be civilised, remember that when in Rome do as the Romans do, but this isn’t Rome. This is Africa!

Msimeki Nkatingi


What can provoke cops to escort you? Wearing Kente Cloth at graduation.

“I would also tell them to look upon the horrific experiences of those involved in the Civil Rights Movementin the ’60s for inspiration and the fact that we cannot stop seeking equality. If we are forced to wear the European cap and gowns [then] we should be able to wear the African Kente Cloth,” said  Black Merit Scholar after refusing to remove Kente Cloth.  

On Twitter May 24 Nyree Holmes shared his sad story of graduation. 

For Holmes was important to wear the traditional African print because it was a representation of his pride in his ancestors, to display his cultural and religious heritage. But  three Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department officers maintained their own opinion and escorted out from Sleep Train Arena.


Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg: NN Vintage by Nhlanhla Nciza of Mafikizolo

The show took place 7 March 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Designs are inspired by African traditional wear and prints, from turbans to certain inspirations from the Sepedi Culture of hues of bright blues and bright pinks. It’s refreshing to see Africans being inspired by African cultures on the runway. Black is beautiful!

VOGUE: Amy Sall discusses her favourite style moments from the trips, why her eyes never rest when she’s taking in the street style in Dakar, and how to wear beautiful traditional pieces from other cultures with respect and appreciation.

I feel like more eyes need to be on Senegal. There’s a lot of emerging talent there when it comes to fashion: a lot of designers who want to take traditional African prints and just make a dress out of it, whereas someone like Sophie Nzinga Sy(Sophia Zinga) is very inspired by how something is worn and elements of Senegalese culture translated into a beautiful, modern take on African clothing. 

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