Male Head-dresses
Dress and Adornment of Rural South Africa

©Dr Peter Magubane
Unlike the head-dresses worn by married women, the styles of male head-dresses tend to be dictated as much by personal choice as by convention. The probable reason for this is that men seldom use head-dresses to underline their marital status.

©Dr Peter Magubane
Certain male head-dress styles incorporate rivets and studs as well as reflectors and lights. Enterprising owners, who buy these head-dresses from specialist producers working from shops in train stations and taxi ranks, sometimes use batteries to power their lights.

Bangles

©Dr Peter Magubane
In the past metal bangles made from imported brass and copper wire were traded for indigenous furs and ivory. Bangles like these once signalled wealth and social status.

©Dr Peter Magubane
Today bangles are made from cheap tin alloys or plastic. No longer markers of status or wealth, their function is decorative rather than symbolic.

©Dr Peter Magubane
Bangles are sometimes worn in combination with necklaces made from beads, the vertebrae of ritually slaughtered animals, and pieces carved from fragrant woods. Guided by the ancestors, healers prescribe necklaces like these, which afford medicinal protection.

© Professor Sandra Klopper