African Designers – An Unstopable Wave

African Designers – An Unstopable Wave

How's your cup of coffee this morning?

My cup tastes different this morning. It tastes like a promise and full-bodied hope. I owe this deep reflective state to two events that took place in Switzerland over the last two weekends: Africa Fashion Night in Zurich and the 7th edition of Afrodysee in Geneva. As a designer and a writer, both shows left me inspired and buzzing with energy.

The lineup at the Afrodysee runway featured Judy Sanderson, a South African designer based in Portugal; L’Atisane; Boyedoe; Adele Dejak; The Fia Factory; Masa Mara; Larry Jay; and Vanhu Vamwe, among others. I took time to chat with most of them. I wanted to know their stories, where they draw inspiration from, their journey in the industry, and much more.

After a meaningful interaction with Larry Jay, I walked away with a purchase; a backpack, handmade and beautifully crafted. Made out of 100 percent natural jute dyed red, indigo handwoven mudcloth, trimmed and lined with leather. How could I not? Larry, as a designer and a person, is both talented and delightful.

![Larry Jay Bag and Masego and Larry]

The showstopper for me was the collection and presentation by Masa Mara. Their models donned a colorful collection of prints—a mix of everyday cultural wear, edgy hipster pieces, and a layered costume dress worn by the lead model with an empress headgear clearly in command of her troop. The models stepped onto the runway, holding vigil for what felt like eternity. In the background, the DJ played a haunting track, "Vita," by Masa Mara from their Africa NiKwetu music collection. We sat there transfixed and in total awe. This moment, this collection, and the energy marked 30 years since the Rwanda Genocide. By the time the models had walked the length of the runway in slow, deliberate steps, pausing for a moment, we were up on our feet, clapping in a standing ovation, letting tears flow freely.

![Masa Mara Models]

The story Masa Mara told, though, was not about pain. It was about resilience and the capacity to bounce back—the beauty that emerges from adversity when art and love lead with a clear vision.

At Africa Fashion Night, we exhibited our latest collection at the Designer Boutique market. The response to our brand and our story was overwhelmingly positive, a sure indication that we had something to offer. There has never been any doubt in my mind, but when our artistry is seen and embraced, it warms my heart. That’s what art does. It binds us as a community and releases feel-good hormones. A positive response is affirming. It inspires us to do more.


![Our Motsamai Safari Suit]

Something in me shifted from these events. A can-do attitude, the world is ready for this African renaissance. It has been for a very long time. The talent emerging from the continent is an unstoppable wave. We are ready to take Bola Nangabe to the world. This is a journey we will embark on, a vision that will propel us forward over the next twelve months.

Thank you for staying with us.
Spread the word before the coffee gets cold.

Masego Madzwamuse aka Nangabe

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