Renowned designer Laduma Ngxokolo talks about the honour of having his beloved brand MaXhosa acknowledged by the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.
The institute founded the Yale Directors Forum with the intention of supporting African museums and other cultural institutions across the continent.
Cultural leaders from across the globe converged in Johannesburg for three-day summit, where Ngxokolo was a guest speaker, touching on the essence of the preservation of cultural heritage, which the brand is also rooted in.
“Preservation of cultural heritage is very important; in fact, uMaXhosa as a brand is rooted in the preservation of heritage and culture. But then our strong conviction is that culture should not just be preserved; it should go into our daily commercial lives and be consumed as part of our lifestyle as people that came from the roots of culture. We feel like culture preservation is a form of reminding Africans of how important we are and how important our ancestors as contributors of culture are to our future.”
He explained to Independent Media what it means to be a part of the programme, emphasising that the gathering is about more than just academic work and design; it is also an opportunity to increase brand awareness.
“Being part of the programme is definitely an honour, as are brands that specialise in cultural preservation. We wouldn’t expect to be acknowledged by a university of such high calibre as Yale. That is far from where we are, from the States, and we benchmark it as one of the most important brands in South Africa/Africa to be part of the programme. It makes us feel like we are being acknowledged as people who are doing something that is right, something that is working, and something that is important for the future. Not just that, us hosting Yale and the guests and participants of the programme today is a super amazing experience for us because it's a mix of academic work and design work and also an opportunity to grow the visibility of our brand.”
When asked what the public should anticipate this year, he mentioned the inauguration of the store in New York and the imminent arrival of a new collection.
“People can look forward to our New York store opening, which will happen on the first week of March... and the new collection that we will be showcasing on the 23rd of March at our cultural festival.”