Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was many things to many people. To African fashion designers, she was a dream and the best model to showcase the beauty and style of the continent.
To match her natural beauty,the photogenic Madikizela-Mandela dressed snazzily and used African fabrics and designs to showcase and celebrate her culture.
South African designers such as Warrick Guitier loved her.
“The way in which Mam’ Winnie styled herself brought a broad element of fashion. She created a unique South African look. From the 60’s to the Sophiatown looks, she brought it all together and made it relevant to the essence of what is happening,” said Guitier.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in an African couture.
Another fashion designer, Keletso Moraba, had more praise for Madikizela-Mandela.
“Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was both stylish and a influence. She looked younger than her age and the way in which she modernised traditional wear was magnificent. I took inspiration from her heavy beading accessorising style and incorporated it with traditional waist bands in some of my designs,”said Moraba, who was a finalist in David Tlale’s “The Intern”.
To celebrate her life, we take a look at some of her outstanding fashion moments.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at her 80th birthday party.
The glam granny
Known as the power of the powerless, Madikizela-Mandela was a true definition of “black don’t crack”. At her 80th birthday in 2016, she looked half her age. In a flared skirt and matching white blazer with black embellished roses and butterflies on the collar, Madikizela-Mandela made a comeback as that grandmother who doesn’t want to be called “granny” because she was just glamorous like that!
Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela slaying in a full Xhosa gear at Nelson Mandela's 8th birthday party.
As a proud Xhosa woman, Madikizela-Mandela always looked ravishing in African couture. On Nelson Mandela’s 86th birthday, she donned full Xhosa gear with several accessories, looking as beautiful as ever. That’s a look we’ll never forget.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela all beaded up in ANC regalia. Picture: Twitter.
The beaded beauty
To best accessorise her phenomenal looks, Madikizela-Mandela opted for beads. Multi- coloured beaded neck-pieces were her favourite. She would also put on many bangles, ensuring she made a dazzling fashion statement.
Mother of the nation looking fly in all black.
Style, all wrapped up!
Madikizela-Mandela looked absolutely amazing with her Afro hair. However, her love for head wraps was legendary. The gele (a doek worn by Nigerian women) style was her preferred way of tying a wrap, and turbans too.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela passed away at age 81 on April 2. She leaves behind a legacy as one of the phenomenal women who stood for what they believed in, and fought for it.
-Pictures: ANA Pictures.