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African identities

Sackcloth people: South Africa

A group of Sackcloth people stay in Cape Town. They are also known as the Sakmanne, and they branched out of the Rastafarian culture. They walk bare footed, they are strictly vegetarian and they do not believe in material possessions. The group in Cape Town has about 100 members. Other Sackcloth groups are in other parts of South Africa’s Western Cape, and also in the Northern and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.



The Sackcloth people make their own bread. They don’t eat eggs, meat, fish or anything that is from blood. Alcohol consumption is not permitted. Before their prayers, they smoke dagga on a regular basis. To earn some money, they sell medicinal herbs, roots and plants in the town markets, on pavements or in the railway station. Their indegenous vegetation knowledge was passed down from many generations of the KhoiSan people. Some of the members do not keep ID’s or birth certificates.

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Source and picture credits: Sunday Times