DoruNsimba: a design collaboration reintroducing Africa to the world

A collaboration of two African-born creatives hopes to change perceptions of the African continent through their work.

DoruNsimba is the collaboration between Nsimba Valene Lontanga and Doru Komonoteng Loboka. Through their visual creations, the two women are redefining the African identity around the globe. In a series called, A Cosmopolitan African the pair visualise the continent’s rich aesthetics through art direction, photography and fashion.

Although both women were brought up in the Netherlands, they still identify with their African origins. Lontanga who is from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Loboka from South Sudan, both believe that Africa is part of their identity and an influence on their work. From traditional fabrics and stories, confidence in Congolese dress and heritage has taught Lontanga individuality. While travelling and studying the African consumer has helped Loboka realise how prominent the market is. 

The two boldly assert, “There is no such thing as an African identity”.

“By deconstructing this notion we are trying to reinvent this term through different stories and aspects that are often untold in the diaspora,” the duo explains. This creates a more comprehensive vision of the variety of cultures and identities the continent offers. “Just like everyone else in the world, African people are also looking for an individual identity,” they add.

Through DoruNsimba, the pair explores the narratives behind Africa’s aesthetic to change the way we look at the continent. Their expertise in styling and trend forecasting has also contributed to this vision. “We were both frustrated about the fact that the new ‘African’ creative culture is almost invisible in the Netherlands. Already a part of this movement, we felt we needed to introduce it to our surroundings.”

Realising the vast African market and the untapped potential it has in Europe, the duo plans to share Africa with the world. “We would like to show the world that Africa plays a significant role in many cultural aspects that people see in their everyday life,” say the creatives.

Together, they hope to create a space for a new generation of African artists, with a new vision of what it means to be African.

“There is a wave of talents emerging, that not only need more exposure but also need to become part of a global conversation,” they explain.