What Is the Traditional Dress of Zimbabwe?

Traditional dress in Zimbabwe includes a wraparound cloth, headdress and ornaments, including necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The people of Zimbabwe no longer wear these types of clothing on a regular basis. Some choose traditional dress for ceremonial or state occasions, such as Heroes’ Day or Independence Day, according to Countries and Their Cultures.

Matebele women create intricate beadwork that forms a part of their ceremonial dress. Men also wear this beadwork, but only for rare occasions. White beads form the background of this work, while translucent colored beads form a pattern. The beads for traditional work are so small that needles do not fit through the opening, requiring the women to sew them together using sinew that forms a point and does not require a needle. Modern Matebele use larger beads, allowing use of a needle and thread, for a less taxing method of producing a similar look.

Traditionally, the Matabele wife wears copper and brass rings around the neck, legs and arms. These rings symbolize wealth along with the bond and faithfulness of the woman to her husband. The Matabele believed they had strong powers.

Women also wear neck hoops they construct using grass and beads. Married women wear them at ceremonies. Newlyweds wear these instead of the copper ring, allowing their husband to use wealth in order to first build a home. Girls of the age to marry also wear these grass hoops.