Umbhaco: A Magnificent AmaXhosa Traditional Attire

Umbhaco: A Magnificent AmaXhosa Traditional Attire

As we close off Heritage Day weekend I wanted to show you all my favourite isiXhosa traditional looks from this year. Heritage day is one of my favourite public holidays in South Africa as it commemorates all cultures that make up South Africa’s population – this screams unity. Most choose to wear attires that speak to the tribe they’re born into, others choose to wear what they deem is suitable to celebrate this day and for some heritage day is just another reminder to purchase traditional wear.



I write this post to celebrate the visual pleasure it has been witnessing isiXhosa worn proudly by my peers over the past couple of days. AmaXhosa wear Umbhaco which is durable cotton that lasts from generation to generation – We are known for our incorporation of beadwork that adds that extra spark to the attire and our white dotted faces. I appreciate the ways people have modernized it to fit both formal and informal events – you can tell which sub-group a Xhosa person is from by how they wear Umbhaco and the colour of their beads. Contrary to how modern women are rocking Umbhaco, another differentiating factor is that an unmarried woman wears umbhaco without the doek/headwrap and a married woman is always seen in a headwrap. However, I write this post to inspire you to see the beauty in what we inherited from those who walked before us and not to police the manner in which each item is worn (Pending Blog Post).



xhosa traditional wear

Fun Fact: There are 12 different sub-groups within the AbaXhosa nation some based in Transkei and some across the Kei bridge in Ciskei.

In case you don’t want to miss the train this time next year contact these ladies to get your own outfit made:

For more isiXhosa Traditional Wear Inspo Follow: Xhosa Dress Code 

I hope your Heritage Day weekend was as good as it was for my family and I




Cwayita Bizana
Cwayita Bizana

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.