Nelson Mandela Promotes Batik
09 Agustus 2009

Sunday, July 20, 2008 09:09:02 by: Retty N. Hakim
Canal: Opinion 

On Friday, July 18, 2008, many newspaper in capital city headlined the birthday of the world bigwig from South Africa, Nelson Mandela. That day was his 90th birthday.

Mandela, who’d ever been imprisoned for 27 years because he opposed against the apartheid politic, surprisingly had succeeded to learn many things in the prison. In Kompas on Friday (or see here) it wrote about his confession of becoming a mature man after being freed from jail. His age was no longer young when he was jailed, he was 44 years old. As it was written in Kompas, he was firstly jailed as an emotional, stubborn and sensitive person, and then he came out from that place becoming a stable and discipline one.

Many press covered Mandela’s birthday, or well-known by the South Africa people as Madiba, because he is the first black skinned president. The attention could be seen by releasing coins and stamps of Nelson Mandela this was to celebrate his 90th birthday.

I myself was impressed by batik which was used by Mandela. This clothe was used on his poster, at his stamp, and in his birthday celebration. It seemed that he wanted to uplift the batik value of South Africa. That Batik clothe seemed so identical on him of which it was also called as “Madiba’s Shirt”. Certainly it could not be separated from the promotion by Nelson Mandela who loves to wear it in every occasion he attended, as well as in a formal event.

It is no surprise if batik also becomes a cultural value in South Africa, and based on result of the research there was still a culture connection with the Archipelago because of the migration. Even, Africa language which is one of the eleven languages in South Africa is having a close connection with Malay language. At least that was what I already read in the research of Dr. Ron Witton, an Australian who ever examined the relationship between African and Malay language.

Though I never learnt specifically the history of how batik could enter Africa, however by examining the batik development with Africa designs as it is shown in this portal, it would be no surprise if in the future not only Indonesia and Malay will be able to be proud of batik. And even the world gets heater, it will be possible that batik would become a formal apparel in formal international events…will you join to promote?!