FOR just one day on Wednesday September 17, revolutionary red was replaced with all colours of the rainbow as delegates took Cosatu’s call seriously and donned traditional attire. Women with braided orange, green, blue, cream, red dresses and drapes vied for centre stage, their ‘isixholo’ towering above their fellow delegates. With beads around their necks, in their hair and earrings gracing their ears, it was a spectacle to behold. Even some brave Zulu ‘warriors’ bared almost all in ‘amabheshu’ and skins. Others were less courageous and adopted the attire of their African brothers from further north. While traditional dress was prominent, other traditions that put women in the back seat were not. For women were in the forefront, striking here, seconding there. The ‘amadlozi’ (ancestors) must have been shivering in their graves to see the age-old traditions being broken. But not everyone honoured their traditions. Enoch Mabaso, (Numsa Pinetown local) complained that he had not been told and that if he had known, he would have come with his skins and shield. Woody Aroun, KZN regional educator, wasn’t sure how to drape 22 yards of material around himself to make up his ‘dhoti’. And why wasn’t Cosatu’s shop steward editor and husband of our very own national legal officer, Norma Craven , wearing his kilt? And then there were others like myself, long ago detribalised, with no idea what to wear! Judging by the response from delegates, next year’s Numsa congress looks set to continue Cosatu’s tradition of traditional dress! Mabaso and other delegates, you are warned. Prepare yourselves now!
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