- Museum number
A piece of indigo dyed discharge printed fabric manufactured by Spruce in the UK and known as 'Shweshwe', back-stamped 'Three Cats'.
Length: 20 centimetres
Width: 38 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Angela Sträter used to make garments for herself and her daughter out of shweshwe and intended selling similar items on a stall she ran at the Pinelands Craft Market in Cape Town, South Africa. It has been some years since Sträter last sewed, but she says that she held onto the shweshwe ‘because it is just so comforting somehow and it does smell so good…it is just so nice to handle proper cloth’.
She purchased this fabric in Cape Town circa 1993 from GG Worsted Fabrics, 68 Darling Street. Sträter describes the erstwhile store as ‘one of those shops where you could buy almost anything, big old fashioned suitcases, with bands around them, men’s hats, shoes, trousers, old Singer sewing machines, (the hand operated ones), materials obviously too and blankets, and the whole store was bustling with life’. The shweshwe, she recalls, ‘ was really easy to measure … as it was all stiff like cardboard and pre-folded into metres, and once measured out, [it was] packed into brown paper parcels…and tied with string’. Although the fabric was purchased circa 1993, Sträter notes that ‘the material may well have been in the shop for a while or the proprietor may have bought up the stock from another shop’.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number