The Beauty of Batik and Seshweshwe

1 December 2020

The aesthetic of fashion is forever evolving and in today’s globalised world traditions and cultures are crossing over to create new and exciting trends.

In Pretoria, the Indonesia Embassy collaborated with the Tshwane North TVET College and initiated a competition with the theme "The Beauty of Batik and Seshweshwe: A Collaboration of Creativity in South African Bride Fashion Design"

The competition kicked off in September 2020 and coincided with Heritage Day on 24 September in South Africa and Batik Day in Indonesia which falls on 2 October.

Eight students from the vocational college successfully completed their designs of a South African wedding dress which combined traditional Indonesian Batik with traditional South African Seshweshwe fabric. The designs were presented to judges in two stages, on 19 and 25 November.
Pictured from left: Mr Kanat Tumysh, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Mr Salman Al Farisi, Ambassador of Indonesia and Mrs Umi Salman Al Farisi

The final judging was chaired by Mrs. Umi Salman Al Farisi, the wife of the Indonesian Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Salman Al Farisi and took place at the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria.

The students’ designs were based on their research of Batik and Indonesian women’s fashion in general. They were also inspired by the diversity of Indonesian and South African cultures, as well as the combination of patterns and cultural philosophies of Batik. The winner was Ms. Petronella Makgeta who designed a Batik wedding dress with a Rangrang pattern and the runner up was Ms. Rasekgwalo Minicent who used Batik Betawi patterns.

Ambassador Salman Al Farisi commended the students for successfully combining and blending two ancient cultures and creating such beautiful garments. He added that the wedding dresses, which combined “Batik and Seshweshwe, convey a message of harmony between the peoples and nations of Indonesia and South Africa.”

Batik was made famous, not only in South Africa but the world over, by former South African President Nelson Mandela who donned his ‘Madiba Shirt’ as it popularly became known.

This competition has hopefully inspired Batik in the use of women’s fashion as well in South Africa.

(Images supplied by Embassy of Indonesia in South Africa)