Shweshwe - The denim of South Africa

Updated: Jul 4

Shweshwe - The Denim of South Africa


This beautiful Bright cloth is the pride of the Xhosa, Sotho and Tswana cultures. Its popularity has travelled even as far as the catwalks of Paris by designer Bongiwe Walaza in her spring 2001 New York fashion collection.


The name “Shweshwe” is said to have originated from King Moshoeshoe of Lesotho in the early 1840’s when the vibrant indigo printed cloth was presented to him as a gift by French missionaries. Today, the Shweshwe is most commonly found in hues of Blue, Brown and red. Not only are these designs used for clothing, but are now incorporated into other elements of design such as ornaments, cushions, book covers and wedding décor.


With its vibrancy and versatility, the Shweshwe has become a fashion statement in Southern Africa amongst different races, cultures and ages, no wonder it has been affectionally dubbed “the denim of South Africa.”

shweshwe South African fabric