Students splash out on grad rags for their big day
Some forked out up to R7,500 for their outfits as the trend shifts from plain academic apparel
South Africans are used to parliamentarians showing off designer wear as they head into parliament for the president’s State of the Nation Address.
Less obvious is the growing trend among university students to make graduation a day to remember by splashing cash on one-off outfits that tend to get lost beneath academic apparel.
More than 14,000 students graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University last week, and they reported spending up to R7,500 on their attire.
Amanda Waki, who graduated with a diploma in public management, revealed that she spent R5,500: R2,500 on Malaysian curly hair, R2,000 on her long gold dress, R900 on matching shoes and R100 on earrings.
Waki, like the rest of the graduands at CPUT, also had to fork out R600 to hire a gown for the graduation.
“This is a special day for me and I [wanted to] honour it,” she said. “I chose a gold dress because I see myself as pure gold and decided that I want an outfit that represents how I view myself. I like the sparkles and the slim fit. I think it accentuates my body really nicely.”
Sizwe Mapapu, who graduated with a BTech degree in public management, wore a colourful waistcoat and a matching German tie. He looked bright and stood out in the bustling graduation venue.
Mapapu said a friend in Khayelitsha designed and made the clothes for R500, a considerable sum for him.
“This is a special day for me and every other student who worked very hard towards achieving a qualification,” said Mapapu.
“I ordered a fancy jacket from the US when I graduated for my diploma and that cost me more than R1,000. I just wanted something colourful this year and I told my designer that anything with the colour yellow will suit me. That’s my favourite colour.”
Wearing a short sleeveless dress and matching high heels, Anda Tutani oozed confidence. She said her parents had spent R7,500 on her to make her graduation “special”.
“I wanted to look stunning for my graduation,” she said. “I am unemployed, but my parents helped out.”
Lelo Khuzwayo, who graduated with a BTech degree in project management, had a modest budget but her colourful outfit still stood out. She said she saw the design on Instagram and tweaked it to suit what she wanted.
“I saw this design two years ago and decided I wanted it for my graduation,” said Khuzwayo. “I got a lady in Langa to make it for me. The fabric was about R280 and her labour was R350. I am unemployed but this was a big day for me.”