Each look told its unique story, making headlines on international media platforms
Beyond the music, the global Afropunk festival is known for showcasing its follower’s edgy fashion and striking beauty looks. The weekend-long music festival touched down on Johannesburg Constitution Hill to usher in the New Year, welcoming an eclectic mix of stylish and socially conscious Afropunk fans from all walks of life that are drawn together in the spirit of inter-sectional activism and celebrating Black culture. The Afrocentric festival also attracted some incredibly stylish Batswana who made sure that their outfits stood out from the crowd.
Mboko Basiami, who owns local fashion brand Glotto, was more than a fashion statement. Her giraffe print inspired look told the story of the giraffes of the Okavango Delta. The giraffes usually suffer from an eye infection that usually blinds them in both eyes, resulting in the animals staggering around until they are taken by a predator. “This made me so sad,” says Basiami. “While I was visiting the delta, I read a lot about the history of herders in the area and about horse riding while chasing game in my country. Hence I infused the design of saddle pants and the giraffe print for my endangered delta species.”
For her second look, Basiami was inspired by Botswana’s lack of gardens and the country’s desert bloom. The bloom in the Kgalagadi Desert lasts for only 48 hours after the first rains, so she wanted to showcase the evanescent desert bloom. The black tumbleweed and the long golden roots of desert plants inspired her hair and earings. Glotto had a velvet collection on the golden daisies in Botswana and the fine golden leaf embroideries represented the desert carpet or leaves that fall just after the rains.
Beauty queen Uua Murangi also made fashion statements that were featured in the British Vogue, Cosmopolitan SA, Drum magazine, Glamour and Afro Punk Page with her fierce warrior and floral looks. Flowers were one of the strong themes at the Afropunk experience in 2019. Murangi turned heads with her flower power look that featured white and yellow sunflowers on a white mesh background. “I just want to live and leave a bit of my mark all across,” Murangi posted. “Being recogised by all these media platforms means a lot to me.”
Multi-talented singer and filmmaker Dato Seiko had her outfit that was designed by Rorisang Lu featured as one of the best by British Vogue online. This year, the Grammy Award-winning pop megastar Solange and R&B powerhouse Miguel headlined Afropunk, while other highlights included singer Busiswa, Sho Majozi, collective Kwani Experience, Soweto’s experiential artists Urban Village and self-dubbed “skate punk rock band” TCIYF completed the bands on the bill.