There is a language in clothing, communicated before a word is uttered. Colors and patterns tell a story of where you are from and your social rank.

About Umbhaco

Umbhaco is a material used in South African traditional garments in formal and informal ceremonies. It is an extremely durable cotton that’s made to last when well cared for. Umbhaco ” is also the term give to the traditional attire of the Xhosa speaking people.

Part of the rich tradition of umbhaco is the incorporation of beadwork into garments and this has been a major form of aesthetic expression for nearly 200 years. Some beadwork and clothing, such as the long dress, beaded bags, and lacy looking collars worn by some Xhosa speaking people were influenced by white settlers. It was the artists(designers) themselves however, who invented most conventional designs, patterns and techniques used in beadwork. Traditional Xhosa dress is still valued and worn as a sign of respect to the ancestors.

Umbhaco Services

iBayi fabric is available in a variety of colours with the most popular being white, cream mustard, orange, red, turquoise, blue and black.

Umbhaco set items are also available individually, and you can add other items to this for a larger set.

All products are made to order, please allow approximately 5 working days for completion of your order, and do include all your measurements! We deliver nationwide.

Our objective is to understand and fulfil your umbhaco fashion needs.

Our team of designers create the most beautiful pieces for the whole family.

We design umbhaco dresses, skirts, trousers, scarves, bags, doeks and more.

As our client we go the extra mile to ensure you are happy with our service.

We go as far as sourcing matching beadwork accessories to complete your exclusive outfit.
You can always count on us because enjoy what we do.

Umbhaco Weddings

One of the happiest moments of a woman is finding the perfect gown for her wedding.
Our mission is to ensure we bring your special dream dress to life and a matching outfit for your groom. For the love of umbhaco .

Xhosa Clans

Anele Siswana, Siswana is my maternal clan. The Siswana, ikwilali yasesi Qhingeni, Kwa Bhaca eMount Frere. Siswana is my maternal grandfather who was married to Nomagcaleka Tikilili by virtue of her being married she used Siswana. Yena yintombi yase Ma Tolweni, Dlangamandla, Mchenge, Mabhanekazi.

My great grandmother’s mother was NOMAXHOSA. She was a healer, Igqirha & Gobela. Wayeliqaba engafundanga, I’m told she was a very beautiful and gifted healer. She’s the ancestor that carries me and behind the power of my healing gift.

She’s the reason I love Xhosa outfits in particular to Umbhaco. Old women back in the days Kwa Xhosa wore imibhaco. When I wear imibhaco it’s me giving honor and integrity. I embody her Xhosa spirit that is what guides and informs my essence and being as um Xhosa.

Anele Siswana is a registered Clinical Psychologist. He is the director of Indigo Wellness & Consulting Services. Anele is in full time private practice and consultancy located in Grayston Wellness & Medical Centre, Sandton. He offers a wide range of psychotherapeutic services for individuals (adolescents and adults), couples, pre and post marital counselling, family therapy, group therapy, trauma debriefing. His services also include corporate wellness, brand endorsements, speaking engagements and public intellectual consulting. Anele is also spiritualist a divine healer with a keen interest in African healing systems and holistic psychological modalities. Anele is an academic, and healer one that heals at multiple levels, where he incorporates both African Situated Psychology and African Practices. This allows him to operate from a space of indigenous practices and epistemological justice.

Fun Facts

Our legend and global icon Nelson Mandela who was Xhosa speaking and wore the full traditional umbhaco on 22 October 1962 to his first day of trial for having left the country without permission and inciting workers to strike. It was not the first nor the last. His wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela chose her outfits strategically, allowing them to speak when she could not, letting them become both acts of resistance and nodes of African pride through the political struggle times of South Africa.

Today umbhaco features in many prestigious events and global stages; and in 2015 a South African designer showcased a single U mbhaco inspired piece at the African Fashion Week London which sold immediately. It is exciting to know how much the attire is embraced out there in the world and will continue to .

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