The Department of Arts & Culture, as part of its Africa Month Festival, hosted the We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza on 27 May 2015. Appointing African Fashion International (AFI), the leading fashion promotions company in Africa, to coordinate the Fashion Extravaganza. The event, held at the Museum of African Design in the fashionable and culturally diverse Maboneng area in Johannesburg, featured fashion designers from across the continent.
The evening celebrated the style, design and heritage of the African continent. Showcasing designers include Taibo Bacar (Mozambique), ARAPAPA at Santa Anzo (Uganda), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa), Alphadi (Niger), Sophie Zinga (Senegal), Tina Lobondi (DRC), Kiko Romeo (Kenya) and MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa). Garments, rooted in African heritage and re-imagined in a global context, were showcased on a runway, worn by models from South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and the DRC.
Fashion and clothing is a central aspect of cultural identity. In further celebrating this, guests were be given the unique opportunity to view a fashion exhibition of garments created by The Carnival Company – in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture – as part of We Are Africa Month celebrations. These garments are inspired by the diverse African heritage, particularly African masquerade and carnival attire.
The evening’s event was held together by Master of Ceremonies Gaetano Kagwa, a Ugandan media personality. Alongside the fashion showcase, Xhosa songstress Simphiwe Dana and spoken-word by poet Naima McClean, known as the First Lady of Urban Cool, performed, bringing together the evening’s celebration of African culture. Adding to the cultural experience of the night, Sanza Sandile (a Swaziland-born chef known as the ‘king of Yeoville’) served a “journey through African cuisine”, his take on Afro-fusion cooking with a modern twist.
The We Are Africa Fashion Extravaganza was part of the exciting programme for Africa Month that took place throughout the month of May. Africa Month is a festival of ideas and cultural exchange, organized by the Department of Arts & Culture. It provided a platform and network for conversations about the African continent. These will go beyond the challenges to successes experienced and a recommitment to work for the continued development and integration of the continent. The theme for this inaugural Africa Month, launched by the Minister of Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa at Freedom Park (Pretoria) on 1 April 2015, is We Are Africa – ‘Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo’.
By Marica Quarsingh