Umbhaco at the Buyel'ekhaya Fashion Show. Picture: Mark Andrews.
Umbhaco at the Buyel'ekhaya Fashion Show. Picture: Mark Andrews.

Student designers take up space at the Buyele'khaya Fashion Show

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Dec 14, 2019

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The Buyel’ekhaya Pan African Festival hosted its fourth annual fashion show last night.  Ten emerging designers took to the stage to showcase their collections to a crowd of acclaimed fashion designers, the media, fashion enthusiasts and critics as well as the public in general. 

Taking place at the Hemingways Mall in East London, Eastern Cape, the show kicked off with  Umbhaco collection, a range that paid tribute to the Xhosa culture. 

Monarchy Couture then showcased chic women’s wear collection rich in green and pink. His use of tea strainers as sunglasses made him stand out. The student designers then turned the ramp into a playground, with Sinalo Tshaya exhibiting athleisure menswear in different shades of blue. Thobile Gcoleka revealed a ladieswear inspired by the Sesotho culture. 

Xhosa Couture by Linda Sithole. 

Avumile Holoholo brought up dapper suits with a touch of print, followed by Wendy Nortey with mermaid dresses in colourful patterns. 

Vuyiswa Sikhabeni showcased beautiful dresses with fringes while Lindokuhle Mdunjane, one of the top three student designers went hard on menswear with green and pink being the dominating colours. His collection was inspired by the Congo and Venda cultures. 

“My collection was inspired by the beauty of nature. That’s why on my range you see there’s a lot of green. I did a collection between the Congo and the Venda tribes then combined it together to create one thing,” said Mdunjane. 

On his experience at Buyel’ekhaya and how it was like being mentored by Palesa Mokubung, Mdunjane said Mokubung gave them a motherly love. 

Colourful dress by Palesa Mokubung. 

“My experience has been amazing. Fortunately, we had a great leader as a collective. Having someone like Palesa was great. She was like a mother to us, the way she treated us. We learned a lot. Being at the top three means a lot but I kind of expected it. I’m ready to be in the fashion industry, he added. 

Cebolenkosi Shibe also took to the runway to showcase asymmetrical tops paired with wide-leg sheer pants with a touch of print. 

Yakhuxolo Mvambo, who also made it to the top three showcased both ladies and menswear-inspired by the Xhosa and Yoruba culture. He said the Buyel’ekhaya mentorship programme taught him how to work in different spaces. 

“I learned that as a designer, you have to be able to work at any given space. You must always know how to work as a team, be able to work under pressure. No matter how small the space is, you must adapt and deliver good results and I think I’ve proven that given I made it to the top three. 


“Our mentors were looking for something that is different and of good quality and I met their expectations. It means that I’m ready for the industry, challenging as it is,” said Mvambo. 

Also on the top three was Zalisile Stuurman who showcased a splendid ladieswear in orange and black. His collection was a dedication to women and their beauty. 

“My collection was inspired by the power and beauty. With the gender-based violence on the rise in our country, I thought I should dedicate this collection to women to take back their power. Orange resembles beauty so I thought let me add a pinch of that as well since women always want to look, and feel beautiful,” said Stuurman. 

Akhonke Khema was the last student designer to showcase. Linda Sithole, an established designer also took to the runway to showcase a well-crafted Xhosa range. 

Maxhosa also showcased, followed by Imprint. Sealing the night was Matsho by Palesa Mokubung, who mentored the student designers and taught them about the business of fashion. Buyel'ekhaya Pan African Festival ends on Sunday with a music festival where Idols SA winner Luyolo Yiba, Sho Madjozi, Kabza De Small, Zonke, Kwesta, Busiswa, Vusi Mahlasela, the Jaziel Brothers, Nathi, Bucie Smith and Yanga Chief will be performing. 

Pictures: Mark Andrews

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