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The future of Africa is bright if it is styled by Thebe Magugu

By Zenhlanhla Myeni

Zenhlanhla Myeni considers the rising success of Thebe Magugu, and the future of young black creatives in Africa.

Yoh, Thebe Magugu where do we even start? In my opinion he is just the best example I can think of when discussing young Africans putting in the work and winning. He is only 26 years old but is already making moves that are being recognised by the likes of Vogue magazine.

His latest collection titled The alchemy collection is nothing short of a masterpiece. The whole collection signals signs of African royalty, African spirituality, nostalgia, Old Bob TV drama series and all that good African content that makes you feel all sorts of good inside.

The collection is coupled with a short film titled BANYOLOYI A BOSIGO translated to ‘ultimate midnight angels’. The film is a great reflection of the collection because it gives life to the meaning and vision that inspired the creation of the collection in the first place. With themes of queer love and feminism, gangs and family, this raised the bar for what you would normally expect from short films. Normally short films can feel one-sided, focusing on only one aspect of the cinematography but this film is far from that. Everything felt intentional, from the music, the clothing, the script, the locations, and the amazing cinematography. The film, which is directed and written by Kristin-lee Moolman, is amazing from start to finish and I would definitely recommend every young African creative watch this regardless of their creative field. The collection, coupled with the film roll-out definitely raised the bar for African independent projects.

Screenshots from Thebe Magugu website. The alchemy collection Photographed by Tatenda Chodora

I love Thebe Magugu’s work because it changes the game and challenges what we consider African creativity to be and how we present it. Instead of a runway show and the same old way of doing things, Magugu and his team decided to make an amazing film that places his avant-garde designer clothing in the setting or storyline that best suits them. This creates an effect similar to how we all felt as kids when we wore our favourite superhero’s costume.

We have come a long way from Amakipkip T-shirts and Thebe Magugu is a clear reflection of that. African creativity is the foundation of all creativity and now due to the rise of internet access within Africa, it’s on its way to the top of all creativity. The Gen-Z’s vision of success is not limited by borders, we can finally show the world that it’s fun playing in the jungle with the lions and we are looking stylish as f**k while we are at it.

Thebe Magugu scooped a major international award, taking home the coveted LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. From: article by Roberto Igual

Zenhlanhla ‘Zen’ Myeni is a goal-focused and driven creative. He is a multifaceted artist that has an astute eye for design, style, and concept – an eye that sets him apart from most of his creative peers. Myeni has always found ways to transform the mundane into magic and loves controversial art pieces that create a constructive conversation. He believes art is the perfect ice breaker to all the difficult conversations the world needs to have.

This review was published as part of the Creative Feel My Art Radar project which was made possible by the National Arts Council’s PESP programme.

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