It wasn’t until I was sitting in the dining room of the Beach Hotel on the morning of our last day in Durban that I finally realized what I’d been missing during the two weeks we traveled around South Africa.
At a table close to ours, a group of nattily attired women in dresses made from African fabric, sat engaged in lively conversation. In this room of business people, young professionals and tourists, they were beautiful and regal and easy to spot.
Nowhere in our travels had we seen a display such as this. Most of the women we had seen had coats on, the others – hotel employees, etc., wore uniforms.
Years ago on my first trip to Africa, as I waited to change planes at the Leopold Senghor Airport in Dakar, I watched, mesmerized, the Senegalese women dressed in riots of colors and patterns – no two women looking alike.
That’s what I missed, I thought to myself.
To me, more than anything else, seeing women in traditional African dress is an unmistakable statement of cultural reference, connection and identity that always makes me feel proud of my African heritage. I didn’t realize how much until then.
What stories do you think your clothes tell?