EMBASSY OF INDONESIA, PRETORIA
The Beauty of Batik and Seshewshwe: A Collaboration of Creativity in South African Bride Fashion Design
Batik diplomacy has again achieved its concrete results through women’s fashion design competition made from Batik. The competition, which is a pilot project and takes the theme “The Beauty of Batik and Seshweshwe: A Collaboration of Creativity in South African Bride Fashion Design” was organized by the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Pretoria in the form of a collaboration with the North Pretoria Vocational College (Tshwane North TVET College).
The competition processes has been held since September 2020 in commemoration of the South African Heritage Day on 24 September 2020 and Batik Day in Indonesia which falls on 2 October 2020. In just a short period, 8 (eight) students from Tshwane North TVET College have successfully completed the design in the form of a South African wedding dress which is a combination of Batik with the traditional South African fabrics, Seshweshwe, and was presented before the Jury in 2 (two) stages. The first stage was held on 19 November 2020 by the South African Jury and on 25 November 2020 at the at the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria chaired by Mrs. Umi Salman Al Farisi, the wife of the Indonesian Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Salman Al Farisi.
The students’ designs were based on their research on 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 background of Batik. The First Winner was Ms. Petronella Makgeta who designed a Batik wedding dress with a Rangrang pattern and the second winner was Ms. Rasekgwalo Minicent which uses Batik Betawi patterns.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Salman Al Farisi stated that “the nobility of students in this activity is not just merely participating in a competition, but the courage to combine two cultures that have grown for centuries in Indonesia and South Africa”. Ambassador Salman Al Farisi further added that the wedding dress, which is a combination of Batik and Seshweshwe, conveys a message of harmony between the peoples and nations of Indonesia and South Africa, which have been in support for each other and working together in a partnership.
The holding of a women’s fashion design competition using a combination of Batik materials and traditional Seshweshwe fabrics is the first collaborative activity held by the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria targeting the young South African generation who have great potential and competencies in creating their designs.
It should be noted, however, that in South Africa Batik has only been acknowledged as men’s clothing and has its own historical meaning for the people of South Africa. Batik is popularly known by the people of South Africa as the Madiba Shirt which is the nickname of the anti-apartheid warrior figure and former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who always wears Batik in every occasion and bring the nation’s trademark colourful Batik shirts to the world.
Pretoria, 26th November 2020
(Source : Embassy of Indonesia, Pretoria)