Made in Africa, BET’s reality TV show that searches for Africa's next best designer premiered last night. The 10 week long show, dubbed as an edutainment reality, aims at discovering new fashion talent from across the borders of the continent, while connecting African countries through fashion and highlighting the talent that exists on the Pan African soil. Hosted by South Africa’s very own singer and fashionista Nandi Madida, the starlet labels the show as Africa's answer to showcasing fashion talent across the continent. “For me there has never been an African reality fashion show and that has really exciting because it is inclusive of the whole continent. Now more than ever, we see an African renascent in terms of fashion, creativity and arts - so the timing is impeccable,” says Nandi, who is also the co-producer of the show.
The competition style TV-show will have 10 contestants compete for the ultimate prize while also creating unique outfits that fit into the weekly themes. The winner of the entire show gets to showcase and sell their collection at the United States immediately. With this in mind, Nandi says the show is beyond being about entertainment but is an empowering show. “It is paramount to say that the show is very educational from a fashion perspective. When people hear the words reality show, they want to see the drama but this show is not really about that. It is more about showcasing African talent and also ensuring that African talent understands the business of fashion and navigating that,” says Nandi.
Beyond opening educational doors for the contestants, Made in Africa seeks to ensure that the winner of the show does not fall through the cracks but makes something of them-self.
“Because with most reality TV shows we find that the norm is that a winner kinda gets lost because they get these prizes but they can’t navigate themselves in the real world post the competition and the TV show,” something the team wish their winners do not fall prey to - hence the platform of showcasing their work. “For me that is empowering and practical. It is great that someone has a way of building forward and the fact that all of us are in fashion and are passionate about it.
“We want to make sure that everyone is empowered,” says Madida.
What sets the show apart, according to Nandi, is the involvement of the entire continent. "Other shows are not continental and that is the edge of the show. For me I got to a place in my life where I am not only satisfied with being the face or host but I'd like to do behind the scene. Getting the opportunity to be empowered as an executive producer was an obvious yes for me. So this show to me means a lot to me because this is is where I am noticing my own individual growth but also seen others too and giving them the opportunity too," she adds.
The panelists will include a variety of experts including actress and stylist Sthandiwe Kgoroge,
designer Natasha Tlagae from Botswana, Ice Models’ operations director Tiffany Prior, Architect Ndabo Langa and fitness queen Sbahle Mpisane.
Last night, we were introduced to two designers, Noloyisa Lubelwana and Towa Mungandi as they went head-to-head against the clock, in the quest to impress the judges. Last night's theme was the Fashion-In-The-Wilderness challenge.