Move to embrace Ancestors Day gathers momentum

Fashion extraordinaire Tshepo Pitso, better known as Material Dondada, is super proud to be among the first people celebrating the One For The Ancestors, an initiative by Castle Milk Stout and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa).

Celebrated on May 8, Castle Milk Stout and Contralesa are trying to get Ancestors Day recognised more widely following huge interest from people keen on embracing their African spirituality.

Pitso is a fashion designer, fashion icon, Skhothane culture leader, a self-taught video editor, 3D designer, and a “proud Mosotho by force”. He said his culture is what roots him as it is evident in all that he does, including the clothing he designs.

“I even went as far as designing Basotho blankets. I collaborated with Aranda Textiles and my blanket designs are now on the store shelves,” said Pitso.

He also regularly hosts Basotho events, where it is a rule to come appropriately and culturally dressed. The next event is planned for June.

“I call them Pitso [the gathering]. The events are attended by young and old people, and everyone is required to dress in their traditional gear,” he shared.

“My image is always different, you can spot me from a distance in a large crowd. For me, culture and heritage mean the identity of a person. So, I am Sotho and I show it.

He added: “It is hard for other people to know what race they belong to because they don’t dress to represent it, and they hardly know or speak their home language. Sometimes you can hear by the surname that someone is a Zulu, Xhosa, or Sotho.”

He added that he is doing his part to keep his culture alive.

“Whatever they forget, they shall remember when they see me. I will be like a museum of my culture. Museums are there to keep precious things [alive]. Things that are rare and hard to find.”

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