Thursday, 3 January 2013

Commemorative fabrics

Commemorative fabrics are not a huge thing in the parts of Africa
that I know best.  In Zimbabwe, you sometimes see Church anniversaries marked with fabric, especially the women's guilds. But other fabrics are fairly uncommon (although this may be changing?).

I've always been envious of colleagues from Tanzania and Mozambique who seem to find dozens of very political fabrics.  I'm very much looking forward to some posts from my colleagues who study Tanzania!

The fabrics above actually show ANC slogans and logos, but were photographed by Dan Hammett in Mbeya, Tanzania, when he went in search of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO), which is now the Tanzanian national agricultural college.  They're not terribly exciting images, but they do remind us about the solidarity ties between South Africa and Tanzania, which continue to shape continental politics today.

The real reason I was thinking about fabric though, is that this morning a post on h-africa  flagged up this new digital archive of Images of African Commemorative Fabrics at the University of Wisconsin  and I thought some of you folks out there would be interested to know about it.  Enjoy!