The rise of Amaphinifa as a fashion staple

Phinifa by Thiago Madam.

Phinifa by Thiago Madam.

Published Feb 22, 2023


Amaphinifa are becoming the hottest fashion trend in South Africa.

If you have attended an African traditional ceremony, be it a wedding or ancestral ceremony, you would have noticed women wearing wraparound dresses made of shweshwe prints. Well, those dresses are known as Amaphinifa.

They have been around for a long time, but recently people haven’t been wearing them only for special occasions, but they have become a wardrobe staple for everyday wear.

Thobeka Nene, the owner and founder of Thiago Madam, believes that “if you are a woman, Iphinifa is one of the essential must-haves in your closet, and as a brand, they have revolutionised the original Iphinifa to fit evolutional women”.

Known for their vibrant colours and distinctive patterns, Amaphinifa are not only reserved for married women. Anyone can wear them and style as desired.

Nomonde Mabhushula of Monde le Grand is one of the few fashion designers in South Africa who made Amaphinifa famous.

Her brand is known for producing bright and vibrant Amaphinifa named after African women.

For example, her collection of Amaphinifa includes Madlokovu, Bulelwa, MaXulu, Siphilele, Mawande Bawinile and many more.

Millennials are open to the idea of wearing Amaphinifa (which were usually worn by older women) and seem to be liking them.

Fashion designer Boitumelo Modiba-Rasefate is one of the young women getting into the trend of rocking Amaphinifa.

“Wearing a phinifa for the first time, my husband has been smiling from ear to ear,” she once tweeted.

Below are some of our favourite Amaphinifa from various brands.