Having come out of Heritage Month where we were celebrating our diverse cultural backgrounds in dress, food and general way of life, let’s take a little look at the heritage behind the ‘doek’.
Heritage Day, which takes place on the 24 of September every year, is set to bridge the divide between people who have rather more in common than otherwise and are sometimes unaware of it; a beautiful spectacle to witness.
Bright colours greet the eye; questions around identity get answered; feasts of the best exotic delicacies are had… The doek (dhuku), an Afrikaans word for head wrap, is part of the cultural expression for African women not only in South Africa, but the continent over. In celebrating Heritage Month this year, Indoni is embarking on an online cultural celebration campaign geared for the entire continent, #MyDoekMyHeritage.
The Head Wrap
A head wrap means different things to different people but is a common ‘crown’ on the heads of African women from Cape to Cairo. It is a symbol of self-respect and pride – a trendy one at that – for African women, even in the Diaspora, and is a common women’s cloth headscarf in many parts of southern and western Africa.
In South Africa and Namibia, the ‘doek’ is used for the traditional head covering used among most rural elderly African women. In other parts of the continent, terms like ‘duku’ (Malawi, Ghana), ‘dhuku’ (Zimbabwe), ‘tukwi’ (Botswana), and ‘gele’ (Nigeria) are used. For the BaTonga women, the opportunity to wear a ‘dhuku’ usually falls on religious days over the weekend, in ceremonial functions such as the Lwiindi Gonde, Kuomboka and other initiation rituals.
In South Africa, the doek (iduku in Zulu) is culturally worn by married and engaged women. Sangomas have always worn doeks irrespective of gender, as a symbol of their spirituality, but recently young women wear it as a fashion accessory to social events.
Celebration And Preservation Of The Doek
Indoni seeks to preserve culture and restore it as the ‘old new cool’ by introducing the #MyDoekMyHeritage social media trend as a way to move towards a boundless Africa, and to remind people of the actual reason behind the cultural practice of wearing doeks. We are one people divided yet brought together by the world, beautifully, socially and otherwise, and need to remind ourselves of the importance of finding and celebrating our meeting point.
In this time where the youth is largely influenced by what they see on social media rather than what they hear on radio, this campaign is important for meeting young people on their turf to remind them, within a space that is familiar to them, who they are and what makes them the same as the next.
Wearing The Doek For A Prize
#MyDoekMyHeritage social media trend seeks to find the overall best-styled ‘doeks’ to stand a chance to win fantastic prizes. Winners will be announced at the Indoni Miss Cultural South Africa Pageant Finale on the 15 October 2016 at the Durban ICC. It is important for us to remember our roots and document their beauty. Whether it is a heritage that stems from conditions or from love, our heritage is who we are and we must celebrate it, especially in this modern-day quest for a united and independent Africa. We have more in common than the world cares to see.
Source and Image: Indoni