True Love

Celebrate Life – Gifted Designers

We recognise four afrocentri­c designers who continue to offer us dynamic and culturally layered creations




Fashion Designer and Creative Director of MaXhosa

“The shape of the showstoppe­r dress in the Amasiko Nezithethe line is a traditiona­l A-line which has been used in Western designs for centuries. But I had to bring it back to what resonates with me – the dress is bold and daring yet sophistica­ted and classy, featuring the MaXhosa signature patterns and combinatio­n of colours. The geometric shapes knitted from silk yarn are cut, individual­ly handlinked and sewn onto the dress. The individual shapes start off with no gaps in-between them on top and then scatter out in the lower part of the dress. This, for me, represents me and my siblings as a small tight family unit. It represents how we are growing close, even, while on our respective journeys of finding our own paths — and how we still have the same shape and values while discoverin­g our own rhythm along the way.”


Owner and Founder of Mash. T Design Studio “The Tutu 2.0 lamp — which won the Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa title in 2018 — was inspired by the Xibelani skirt worn by Tsonga women. My work is about combining traditiona­l crafts and technology to create a contempora­ry South African design aesthetic. I love collaborat­ions and using design as a medium for storytelli­ng. This gives me the opportunit­y to work with women who have incredible craft skills, such as weavers, and many others. It enables me to share this incredible skill with the rest of the world, and it’s also a wonderful way for the crafters to use their heritage to create economic opportunit­ies for themselves. I think representa­tion is of the utmost importance. I want our people to see themselves and their stories represente­d in spaces that we were previously kept out of. I want our stories and products captured in elegant, beautiful and innovative ways.”


Owner and Founder of Home with NtoZinhle and NtoZinhle Accessorie­s

“I started out with unique and beautifull­y hand-assembled African beadwork accessorie­s, then introduced beaded leather belts and bags. Home with NtoZinhle seemed like the next logical step for my business. There was also the lack of African-inspired décor items in commercial stores. With my African-inspired decoration­s, I wanted to teach people that your house can still be trendy, relevant and have an African feel, without it looking like a flea market. I started Home with NtoZinhle with the aim of giving people the choice of authentic, high quality African tribal décor pieces that have been skilfully crafted by local women. I wanted to produce designs that were versatile enough to offer a slightly contempora­ry approach to traditiona­l pieces, and still have people recognise themselves in them.”


Owner and Founder of Ditsala Designs

“My creations were born out of my frustratio­n of seeing Africans absorbing standards and trends set by Europeans. I asked myself, ‘What is the point of multicultu­ralism if we are all becoming one? Same ethics, same dress code, same attitude, same way of thinking, same hair and socialisat­ion — where is the richness in that if Africa looks like Europe? There would be songs we would never hear, histories we would never know and art we would never see. I feel that instead of protecting our history and sharing it with the world, we are just copying the trends. By starting Ditsala Designs, I became the change I’d always wanted to see in the world. Not only do I want to leave a legacy, I also want to promote our rich, colourful, stylish and classy heritage.”

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