Beaded iPhone cases by Vukile Batyi and Laduma Ngxokolo

The quintessential 21st-century accessory gets a Xhosa-inspired case courtesy of Vukile Batyi and Laduma Ngxokolo.

From the Series

Vukile Batyi’s passion project has grown into a desirable accessory for both the South African and international markets. The Durban-based graphic designer and 2014 Design Indaba Emerging Creative has turned his attention to designing innovative and beautiful iPhone covers. Inspired by his late aunt, Batyi draws on traditional beading skills to create one-of-a-kind bright and bold designs for iPhone cases.

The unique products revive the beautiful tradition of beading and expose people of all nationalities to authentic South African design and creativity, says Batyi.

Batyi’s challenge was to create a product that preserved the legacy of his aunt, an avid beader, and appealed to a younger generation.

He has his own line of beaded products but the iPhone cases are a departure for him.

For me this was not enough as the spoons, mugs and key holders are not being used by the cool kids of the digital generation, explains Batyi.

The beaded iPhone cases are a savvy take on the almost ubiquitous accessory, introducing an unusual, handmade element. 

As the iPhone cases became more popular, Batyi turned to another creative drawing on his Xhosa heritage, textile and knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo, for design input. For the 2014 Design Indaba Expo, Batyi collaborated with his mentor to create cases emblazoned with traditional Xhosa-inspired patterns from Ngxokolo's latest knitwear collection. 

Batyi is how at work on a new range of iPhone and iPad cases to be released soon.

View more iPhone cases and order your favourite design by emailing

Watch the Talk with Issa Diabaté