What is Swe Shwe?
The Original Shweshwe fabric, is a 90 cm wide (36in), 100% cotton fabric manufactured in the traditional way using copper rollers which have patterns etched on the surface, allowing the transfer of a weak discharge solution onto the fabric. All our Shweshwe is sold PREWASHED and READY TO USE.
The History of SHweShwe
Shwe-shwe (or schwe schwe) fabric was introduced to South Africa with German settlers in the 19th century, but over time Xhosa women, who took a liking to the stiff indigo-dyed fabric, replaced their animal skin clothes with shweshwe. It is said to be named after the sound the skirts make when you walk.
It is now available in three colours (blue, red and brown), two toned, and double sided prints. Its distinguishing characteristics are a repeated geometric pattern, the use of local fora and fauna (and even political figures!) and the trademark logos on the back of the fabric. The characteristic designs are made by patterned copper rollers brushed with a weak acid solution.