PholaMoya African Collection

PholaMoya is our African-inspired collection, designed and crafted in the “Windy City” of Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. PholaMoya means “cool breeze” in isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s eleven official languages.

This product is made using Three Cats original Shweshwe, a 100% cotton fabric, thought to originate in India, but took off in South Africa after German settlers introduced the cloth to Xhosa women in the mid 1800’s, who fell in love with it and made it their own. Some say the fabric was given the name Shweshwe as that’s the sound you hear when Xhosa ladies go by in their traditional dresses. Others say it got its name from King Moshoeshoe I, King of the Basotho, who was given the indigo-dyed fabric as a gift from the French missionaries in the 1840’s.

At present, the Eastern Cape, South Africa is perhaps the only known producer of the traditional Indigo Dyed Discharge Print Fabric in the world. And because Penelope & Bella is also based in the beautiful Eastern Cape, we have a soft spot for this fabulous fabric, produced right on our doorstep.


Please consult our Shweshwe Care page for proper care instructions for all of our beautiful PholaMoya items.

Read all about the great media response we received when we sent a custom-made shweshwe outfit to tennis ace, Serena Williams, here.