Black Magic At Abantu Book Festival

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Black people seldom have spaces to be unapologetically black, but Abantu Book Festival is one of the few spaces that has allowed us to enjoy our blackness and indulge in black literature by black African authors without any interruptions. Do not be fooled into thinking that black people don’t read, because we do, we enjoy it and we are even teaching our children to not only read but to love it. The first week of December saw Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto and Soweto Theater filled with Black African authors as well as the black people who read their books meet to have panel discussions on issues that affect us. The book festival was a safe space were we cried together, laughed together and danced together.

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Writers from different parts of Africa gave a few insights into their books as well as engaged in general discussions about different issues that affect us. What stood out for me is how the majority of discussions were on abuse, patriarchy and women as keeper of secrets. In a discussion with Marah Louw she talked about the cycle of abuse from her mother( who is actually her grandmother) , her sister (who is her real mother) and herself, the abuse they suffered at the hands of men they loved. Finding out that her sister was actually her mother and how nobody in her family was willing to tell her the truth. Family keeping secrets about a child’s biological parents is such a problem all over and it is damaging. In a separate discussion about Khwezi, Mmatshilo Motsei emphasized on the dangers of women keeping secrets when their kids and other women are raped by family members so as to not “disgrace” the family. Everyone who attended the discussion is in agreement that we need to stop protecting abusers and rapists in our families. Our mothers are huge supporters of patriarchy because that is all they know from their mothers and their mothers and they have protected patriarchy as way to survive in the world that has always been unfair to women and the change can only be brought by women of our generation who have already started to make great strides in dismantling patriarchy bit by bit.

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Our African cultures from 500 years ago are not the same cultures that we have today because culture evolves and as we go on every day we create our own African identity. I love the way we are loving our black African selves without apologizing, rocking our hair in its natural state, celebrating our cultures as well as the cultures of our fellow Africans.

Abantu Book Festival in its greatness also exposed the challenges for the black media worker when it comes to the compensation and managing the creative and business aspect of their trade. There is a need to established media institution that will enforce the fair treatment, fair compensation of media workers. Those institutions need to make media work for blacks sustainable.

I cannot wait wait for the 3rd annual Abantu Book Festival in 2018 because the festival is a great initiative and I am pretty sure that it will grow bigger and better, I am proud of the work that Thando Mgqolozana and his team have done for us. AMANDLA ABANTU BOOK FEST! AMANDLA

All images from Abantu Book Festival

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Spree SS17 Celebration.

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Fashion lovers came out in large numbers to see the preview of the SPREE SS17 collection at the Tin Factory in Kramerville last night and we got to see the some gorgeous garments that will be trending this summer if they are not already trending. The coolest thing about the event setup was that 4 top fashion photographers, namely; Cedric Nzaka, Jeff Rikhotso, Austin Malema and Niquita Bento had the dopest photo booths with great concepts for the event attendees to take pictures and I absolutely loved posing for the pictures

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The Spree man is keeping it casual this summer with statement T-shirts, colourful and happy socks and shoes. Statement T-shirts look pretty cool with denim and customized jackets. For the space lovers or science lovers, Spree has astronaut jumpsuits which I happen to love so much and I intend to get myself one. As we move closer to the festive season, there are some cool swimwear items to wear at the beach and at the pool parties. The trick really is to keep the clothing minimal but ultra cool.

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Lately I have been wearing my dresses with caps and mostly it is to hide my bad hair days and sometimes its because I feel like it goes with my look. It was great to see that SPREE is embracing the caps and dresses trend and implementing it so well and in the most coolest way. Metallic caps with some shiny custom accessories to set you apart from the crowd and they go well with suits, dresses, swimwear basically anything you want to wear.

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Stripes ,lots of bright colours and of course caps dominated the ladies’ collection. Ladies if you are not wearing your panties with a cute dress then you are not doing this fashion thing right. Never forget your sling bag or a cute statement clutch bag to make sure that your look is complete. Obviously Spring/Summer is about cute florals and prints in good material that prevents one from sweating and ruining a good outfit. To shop these looks head to www.spree.co.za 

Suennel Original Clothing: The Afrikan Princess Edit

 

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Model: @telly_nthabi

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Accessories by @lebo.visagie

Too few fashion brands celebrate the curvy and big boned people. I was delighted to be invited to Suennel Style Fashion Show for the curvy women. The fashion show was in Kagiso in the west of Johannesburg and as I watched a collection of spring/summer and autumn winter outfits, I immediately developed ideas on how to style the outfits for this platform. Suennel Original is owned by Neliswa Motsuenyane, a young black woman from Kagiso. The collection had some bridal gowns which were amazing.

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

Model: @xhosagodd

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

Accessories by @lebo.visagie

I fell in love with how these ordinary women looked in the amazing designs and how the unconventional fashion show was inclusive of everyone. To create this Afrikan Princess Edit, I decided to create the lookbook at an art studio owned by a good friend who is housed at August House in Johannesburg.

Suennel Style : Afrikan Princess Edit

@telly_nthabi Shot by @erem_malo

Suennel Style: Afrikan Princess Edit

@xhosagodd Shot by @erem_malo

The lookbok was shot in an art studio because I wanted to merge painting and fashion design together as forms of art and show the beauty that they have separately as well as the beauty that comes out of their combination. The painter and artist Sanusi Olatunji  works mostly with paper in his painting and I loved how the outfits complemented the art work in the studio,

Suennel Style Afrikan Princess Edit

@telly_nthabi Shot by @erem_malo

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Designer: Neliswa Motsuenyane @suennel_style

Stylist: Vuyiso Tshabalala @vuyiso_afrikanprincess

Assistant Stylist: Thobeka Mbane  @thobekambane

Photographer: Vuyo Thloloe @erem_malo

Assistant to photographer:  Shana Nkosi @shana.king

Make-Up Artist : Siyabonga Motsuenyane @ceedazz

Models : Nthabi Sebota     @telly_nthabi & Nwabisa Tafane @xhosagodd

Accessories: Lebo Visagie    @lebo.visagie

Studio: Sanusi Olatunji Art @sanusiolatunjiart

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Threads Stitched By Standard Bank: The Business Of Fashion Accelerator Programme

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The global Fashion industry today is worth 3 trillion USD however, Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for only 1% of that.

Of all the potential obstacles to growing this market in South Africa, it seems creative talent and exposure are the least of what hinders upcoming fashion brands from thriving on the international scene, access to finance even less. There is a definite need for teaching the business of fashion – fashion entrepreneurs need to be supported in professionalizing their enterprises and running a truly profitable business.

There is real opportunity to take South Africa’s up-and-coming fashion designers and turn them into powerful fashion CEO’s. Given the appropriate support, these fashion entrepreneurs could be running profitable businesses capable of competing on the international apparel scene, creating jobs, and having an impact on the South African economy.That’s why purpose-driven marketing agency NONZēRO partnered with Standard Bank to create: the Business of Fashion accelerator programme “Threads – stitched by Standard Bank”:

What Standard Bank is looking to do is support the entrepreneurs’ creativity with the crucial business know-how, mentorship and support that’ll propel the business to the point where they’re experiencing real growth, and running like professional outfits. The partnership with Standard Bank is a key to delivering on this goal. In order to supplement the programme with an academic backbone, the team partnered with the e4 Impact Foundation, an initiative of the Universita Cattolico of Milan focussing on impact entrepreneurship. Together they created a 12-week curriculum that focuses on the business operations of a fashion enterprise: From financing and retaining employees, to lean manufacturing and eCommerce, as well as specialized procurement methods and marketing.

The programme is open to all fashion entrepreneurs with existing business operating in South Africa, and is taught simultaneously from four regional classroom hubs: Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The programme takes place two evenings per week for a 12-week duration. The participants will also be taken on action learning field trips across South Africa designed to showcase best practices’ across the country in various fields.

Working together with the Standard Bank Incubator and a strong eco-system of partners in business (including Mercedes-Benz), government and civil society, the programme calls upon the expertise of some of South Africa’s top business minds and thought leaders as programme teachers. The programme uses real-life case studies and experiential learning exercises to reinforce the academic learnership of the programme with practical industry insights.

At the end of the programme, the participants will be invited to present their new business model in a business case presentation to a panel of judges, and the winning participant will be taken on an international trade trip to Europe. The key focus of this trade trip is a meeting with a high-impact private distribution network enabling the participant to liaise with and present their business/products to wholesale buyers and retailers, as well as attending trade fairs.

The winning participant will receive an SME start-up pack courtesy of Standard Bank, will become a Mercedes Benz brand ambassador and drive the brand new vehicle for a 12 month period, as well as benefit from continued mentorship by the Threads team.

To participate in the Threads programme, interested entrepreneurs can apply online, via Threads website, http://www.threadsonline.co.za. (Open to entrepreneurs with an existing business in operation in South Africa for at least one year). The application process opens on 11th September, 2017 for a one-month period, ending on 11 October, 2017.

 

“Ode To She”: Tony Gum’s Solo Exhibition To Launch At The Christopher Moller Gallery.

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Umfazi_MediaTony Gum, an artist who has  who has captured my attention with her unique art launches her first-ever solo exhibition in Cape Town at the Christopher Moller Gallery, Kloof Nek, Cape Town on Friday, 29 September, 2017. Titled, ‘Ode to She’, the solo exhibition centres around Tony Gum’s explorations, discoveries and understanding of the teachings by her elders of what it means to be a Xhosa woman. Through ‘Ode To She’ Tony Gum wants to reiterate the power and representation of Xhosa women, acknowledging their multifaceted roles, complex experiences of self, family and society.

Tony Gum_Milk the bok_Media‘Ode To She’ is presented as an intimate still life, an encounter with Tony Gum as her work transitions in different stages of a Xhosa woman. The exhibition is a story that is a poem, a song, a letter to She-She, the Being, who understands He/She/Them to be a force, like nature, a person who has been beaten, tried and tested yet is able to rise above it all, says Tony Gum.

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Intombi II_MediaAs young people and young women, we find it easy to relate to Tony Gum because of the way her art is presented, simply yet unique. I love that ‘Ode To She’ will not only celebrate and the different transitions but it will also celebrate those transitions in relation to technology and fusing the modern and the traditional. With it being Heritage Month, I love how the exhibition is centred on culture and heritage and I hope that when young people get to see the exhibition, they will get to see our cultures and heritages are beautiful and important.

Tony Gum_Land of milk & honey_MediaI believe in honouring our individual truths,” muses self-titled Creative Director, Tony Gum. “Our ability to pause, reflect, connect and celebrate that which makes each of us whole means we are better placed to recognize and respect this essence in others.- Tony Gum

Tony Gum_Xhosa Woman - Umama omkhulu_MediaTony Gum’s Cape Town solo exhibition, ‘Ode to She’, is a combination of new work and past themes revisited with never before seen visuals. Experience this visual journey first-hand at the Christopher Moller Gallery in Cape Town from Friday, 29th September, 2017 until 3rd November, 2017. The artist will be celebrating this milestone with an ‘All Red’ themed after party on the night, all you have to do is follow the hashtag #TonyGumCalling for details.

www.instagram.com/tony_gum/ – #tonygumcalling #odetoshe

Street Style at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg

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Fashion Weeks are not just about runway shows, they are also about the unique styles of the attendees and that is why the street style at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg was trending over the weekend. It is always great to see the people go all out and look beautiful and cool as they take snaps while waiting for runway shows to commence. Photographers are always on the lookout for the best and coolest looks. One such photographer is Ben Moyo who captured the best dressed this past weekend at #MBFWJ17 at the Mall of Africa.

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See more of Ben Moyo’s work here

#MBFWJ17: Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue

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Remembering where it all started for Orapeleng Modutle, I could not be anymore prouder of him as I was watching his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg at Mall of Africa. My favourite thing about Orapeleng is that he is diverse, he caters for the brides, for the working woman, for the everyday woman who loves to look good. The first to last look is presented with so much precision and Asanda Sizani really did an amazing job styling the collection.

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All images by SDR Photo for African Fashion International

#MBFWJ17 Day 1 Favourites

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Last night Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg 2017 kicked off at Mall of Africa in Johannesburg and day 1 has set a good pace for the rest of the days. Fellow fashionistas and I braved the cold and windy Joburg weather for the love of fashion.

AFI Prive which is an African Fashion International inhouse fashion brand made a return last night on the runway and I must say that I was impressed with the collection. “Under the African Sun” is what the collection embodied and the garments were made of soft and comfortable fabrics. The kind of clothes that one wears in an African summer next to the pool, river or beach; whatever floats your boat. The cute thin waist belts were significant in giving the best view of the outfits. My absolute favourite outfit was the off the shoulder crop top with multi-layered sleeves and the matching pants which give off a relaxed look.

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All the looks from the AFI Prive collection can be shopped at the AFI Prive store at the crystal court at Mall of Africa and soon on the website http://afiprive.com/

Thula Sindi is showcasing again and I couldn’t be any happier. Before the show, everyone who follows Thula Sindi on Twitter and I got to see a sneak peek of what to expect at his show and true to his word; his collection reflected his obsession with hard edged details on soft fabrics.

My favourite dresses from Thula Sindi’s collection are the dresses above whose details are hard to miss, I definitely paid so much attention here and I could not help but see a peacock in its glory  as its covert feathers are  displayed during the  courtship ritual.

The collection also featured some of the best embroidery I have ever seen. Everything was just so precise, in the right colour and paired with best pieces. I love that you can switch up the TS garments and you can wear them for any occasion.

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Other designers who showcased included Gavin Rajah and Spero Villioti. Even Though their collection were nice, I would have loved to see something different because I feel like we always see the same collections from them. Spero Villioti had models wear fake colourful locks which did nothing for the collection and we have seen this before in international designers. I honestly did not see the point of the fake locks as they added nothing to the story.

Photo Credits: SDR Photo

Brave Hearts Never Fail: The Kidd Hunta Story

 

From the primordial wasteland where survival is the only thing that matters, comes Kidd Hunta – fighting through harshest environments with only his wit, and his spear handed down from his father. The Kidd Hunta is here to take on the world with no apologies. With his spear, he aims and strikes true to his target.

The story of this young African Boy fighting is the inspiration for Kidd Hunta. He encapsulates an entrepreneurial go getter spirit with a uniquely African outlook. With Kidd Hunta we bring the traditional values of bravery, courage and fearlessness into the modern world, and stake our claim.

This is no ordinary clothing label, because this is no ordinary kid. Kidd Hunta, has found the beast within himself, and uses that to survive. Today – his same spirit ignites a flame expressed in the design of the Kidd Hunta label.

Kidd Hunta shows no mercy, but does so in a modern setting-with style.

For the modern day fighter, comes Kidd Hunta – a label which draws strength from a strong African Past and runs courageously into the future. Brave Hearts Never Fail.

Spree Celebrates 4 Years Of Supporting Local Fashion in South Africa

Rich Mnisi

Rich Mnisi

Spree: The Number one retailer for SA designers

Committed to growing and supporting local fashion, Spree – South Africa’s most fashionable shopping site has been a platform for local and emerging fashion designers since 2013, with a vision to discover and showcase the very best South African design talent.Celebrating 4 years of supporting South Africa’s brightest stars and with close to 100 local brands and designer collections having been featured on the site, Spree has been the largest supporter of local fashion in the country, ensuring that customers have access to amazing collaborations and allowing the site to offer a much broader and exciting range of apparel.

 

Designers such as Lukhanyo Mdingi, Rich Mnisi, Ruff Tung and Tamara Cherie represent the new wave of SA design talent who are proud about their cultural roots and produce lines that reflect their own sense of individuality. Something that Spree Creative Director Chris Viljoen echos, “We are always looking for outstanding new brands to add to our unique fashion edit, and we seek the most exciting talents wherever they are. So it’s great to be able to support local talent of this calibre.”Spree has also been home to some of SA’s long-standing fashion establishments in the past such a Marianne Fassler, known for her superbly crafted designs and contemporary offerings as well as Craig Jacobs, whose Fundudzi line showcases some of the wildest pieces in menswear – truly making the site a shopping hub that bridges the gap between catwalk and consumer SA fashion.

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Lukhanyo Mdingi

 

Whilst some of the SA brands available on Spree are already established long before showcasing on the site, collaborating with the ecommerce store means different things to different designers, from production and photography guidance to business mentorship. Julian Kubel, brand owner of Butan Wear comments ”Working with Spree has resulted in many benefits for our brand. Over and above giving Butan wider exposure and allowing our followers to purchase our goods from anywhere in SA, Spree has recently thrown their weight behind our ‘Searching For Mother and Child’ campaign, a project that is very close to our hearts.”

 

Another advantage that the retailer offers its designers as well as customers is the ability to deliver free throughout South Africa for orders over R250 either door-to-door, or door-to-post office counter or door-to-Pargo pick up point, depending on where the shopper is based.Founder and Creative Director of Funduzi, Craig Jacobs comments, “At Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs we don’t see ourselves as retail experts – our core business is creating beautiful yet accessible, modern yet distinctively African apparel, and we rely on our retail partners to provide our warriors with the ideal conduit for them to engage with our merchandise. Importantly, those partners need to match our value system – attention to quality, a distinctive experience and a high level of professionality.

David Tlale

David Tlale

 

What Spree has allowed me to do is concentrate on what we do best while knowing that, no matter where our warriors might be located in the country, they can simply tap on their smartphone app or click on their mouse and purchase a piece of Fundudzi.”

 

And with solid year-on-year growth of 76% in orders placed and a 69% increase in the number of site visits, it’s little wonder that Spree Creative Director Chris Viljoen is full of excitement for the future, “Spree is well-positioned to make a positive impact on the development of the country’s fashion industry and we’re so proud to have seen some of fashion’s leading lights pass through on their way to stardom.”

Shop your favourites from Spree