African jewellery designers that celebrate SA's heritage
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To celebrate Heritage Month, we chat with two jewellery makers you should know who draw inspiration from their tribes and culture, Njabu Griffiths, founder of Lashongwe Contemporary African Design and Nomfundo Dlamini, the founder of Isimodeni Jewellery.
Lashongwe Contemporary African Designs
Founded in 2003 by Njabu Griffiths, Lashongwe Contemporary African Designs is a jewellery brand that started off with fine jewellery pieces but later evolved to focus on African-inspired accessories.
The brand which is based in Germiston, East of Johannesburg, has three ranges that focus on South African cultures: Zulu, Ndebele, and Swati.
On the Zulu range, they have the Zulu-inspired ear plug earrings which are known as “Iziqhaza”.
Iziqhaza were worn in the olden days to differentiate Zulus from other tribes and as a symbol of pride. To stand out, Griffiths has taken the Iziqhaza concept and modified it to make it more sophisticated.
The Mahlangu range is inspired by the Ndebele culture and their style of beading.
“We’ve got the Mahlangu range inspired by the Ndebeles. We use their style of beading in a modern way,” Griffiths said.
The Swati range is similar to the Zulu range.
To view more of her work, check her out on Facebook at Lashongwe Designers as well as on Instagram
Isimodeni Jewellery is an accessories brand owned by Nomfundo Dlamini.
It specialises in handmade Zulu modernised jewellery. Drawing inspiration from beaded jewellery, Dlamini focuses on using bright colours, patterns, and simple geometrics.
To create accessories that are unique and of good quality, Dlamini uses sterling silver as the framework that embodies the beautifully beaded jewellery.
“The love of my heritage. Bright colours and beads are then put in both understated yet sophisticated everyday jewellery pieces.”
Dlamini recently collaborated with giant hair brand, TRESemmé for their Women’s Month campaign of celebrating all things hair. She created unique crowns using beads, and of course, sterling silver.
“I think fashion allows people to express themselves and that it has the power to transform the wearer.
For more of Dlamini’s work, check her out on Instagram