Culture club

Thebe Magugu’s latest collection features 18 South African icons.

The third instalment of Thebe Magugu’s annual Heritage capsule collection – a vibrant tribute to South Africa – explores the concept of ‘lobola’ across different cultures including Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Tswana, Tsonga, Swati, Sotho and Venda.


The former Design Indaba Emerging Creative and LVMH Prize winner unveiled the new collection, which includes a menswear range for the first time, with a photographic series featuring 18 South African icons in law, film, literature, business, sports, culinary arts and art – including Ama Qamata, Anele Mdoda, Boity Thulo, Dr John Kani, Zoë Modiga, Priddy Ugly, Nomzamo Mbatha, Prof Thuli Madonsela, Thapelo Mokoena, Tresor Riziki, Trevor Stuurman, Zizipho Poswa and Thebe Magugu himself.


‘I’ve reached out to some of the most extraordinary individuals in my country, whom I’m fortunate to call my friends, to help bring this vision to life and I’m deeply grateful for their involvement,’ said Magugu. 


Titled Heritage III: Lobola Negotiation, the collection explores lobola, a centuries-old negotiation process in anticipation for eventual marriage, where the family of the groom approaches the family of the bride with an offer (traditionally cattle, contemporarily money) in exchange for the bride herself. This is meant to be symbolic rather than ownership, and the exact margins of this practice change from culture to culture.


Heritage III features nine dresses and nine shirts, each with a vibrant illustration depicting lobola celebrations unique to each relevant South African culture. For women, the new silhouette for the Lobola Heritage Dress borrows from the functionality of a shirt dress and introduces elevated angel cuffs, a waist-defining belt - and pockets. For men, the Lobola Heritage Shirt takes on a boxy silhouette in a lightweight satin, which features a central buttonhole on the neckline that is clasped with a stainless steel Thebe Magugu coin button.


The Basotho Lobola Dress, a kaleidoscope of sunset hues, features an artwork illustrating two women in their Basotho blankets, mokorotlo straw hats demurely drawn over their faces to slip into the post-lobola celebrations, while the Tswana Lobola Dress shows two elders enroute to the post-lobola celebration. On one of the women’s heads sits a calabash filled with African beer called Bojalwa ba Setswana.


The Heritage Collection is available via the Thebe Magugu website



A week to remember


Ebb and flow


Second act