On Friday 19 May 2023, Cape Town's most prestigious auditorium, the Artscape Theatre Centre welcomed Cultural Style Week to Cape Town and South Africa. Yet, despite its size and stature, the venue could barely contain the contagious enthusiasm that united participants and spectators in celebration of their African heritage.
The programme kicked off with a word of welcome from Edmund Benans representing the City of Cape Town's Arts and Culture department and an audiovisual presentation in which our founder Candy-Ellie Graham shared the origins of Cultural Style Week. Then MC Olwethu Mdabula introduced South Africa's cultural ambassador, the Mother City’s very own Sinako Nyombolo.
The first musical performer, hip-hop star Astrofarai, brought nearly everyone to their feet and dancing in the aisles.
The fashion show was a riotous feast for the eyes, with each participating designer adding their own twist to the cultural styles of the African communities they represented. First up were the cheerful African prints and dazzlingly bright patterns of Mqombhoti Africa.
Next, Lesotho-born Thabo Makhetha-Kwinana of Thabo Mekhetha showed off her creations - cleverly stylish ensembles that incorporated the distinctively woollen blankets of her mountainous home country.
A Ka Mau House of Creation wowed everyone with a wildly vivid blend of richly diverse patterns that paid homage to their roots in the West African nation of Ivory Coast.
Last, but definitely not least was LL Traditions, a brand famous for crafting bespoke and ready-to-wear dresses that combine elegance with African inspirations.
Fashion segments were interspersed with top notch entertainment. A spoken word segment from Xhosa poet Ahluma Memcla enthralled the audience, while the youthful Lucky Stars of the Philippi Dance Centre had everyone on the edge of their seats with a powerful narrative told through music, dance and drama.
Other artists on the bill were Stroyer, LBK and Muted X. We absolutely loved the fact that we saw so much colour and cultural style in the audience and were delighted to hear the many loud hoots of joy and appreciative cheers. Obviously, everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
After the official programme concluded, it was time for networking, sharing ideas and take one last dollop of inspiration from the cultural style vendors. Beside our featured fashion brands, there were stalls from Clareb Accessories, Indwe Designs, Bee Isintu and Ivy Grace.
We are deeply grateful to the individuals and organisations who helped make Cultural Style Week's South African launch possible. The City of Cape Town’s Arts and Culture department sourced food and transportation for our child participants and supplied seating for everyone. Artscape offered their venue as well as administrative and technical support. Most importantly they also laid out the red carpet and handled the VIP catering.
We applaud our stunning cast of celebrity models, which included Nwabisa Mkhonto and the gorgeous Mrs Cape Town 2023. Thank you to Elegant Hair Lovers for hair design and Havilla Beauty for makeup. Cultural Style Week South Africa was awesome and we love you all.
“The event was out of this world, I have learnt a lot. It has groomed me to be a better event organiser. I have learnt a lot about different cultures.”- Sinako Nyombolo
Written By Carine.E
Watch the highlight video below: