Ask Nigeria Header Logo

MaXhosa Africa, promoting the Xhosa culture

Photo of author

By Mercy Kelani

Ngxokolo created his clothing designs from scratch to represent the culture.

Laduma Ngxokolo vividly recalls the defining moment that marked his transition into manhood, a moment that would go on to influence his distinctive fashion style. During 2004, he embarked on a month-long journey into the wild alongside a group of young males from his community. This adventure was a symbolic rite of passage that has been practiced for generations by the Xhosa people in South Africa. In accordance with custom, Ngxokolo and the other initiates were expected to return to the community wearing new attire following their month-long seclusion.

According to Ngxokolo, the style was reminiscent of a British gentleman, featuring a hunter cap or hat paired with a jacket for a classic and sophisticated appearance. However, Ngxokolo took it upon himself to create his own clothing designs from the ground up, these truly represented the essence of Xhosa culture. Standing out from his peers, who are known as amakrwala initiates, this individual transitioned from youth to adulthood in a unique way by adorning himself with an accent colour on the calf, around the neck, around the chest and many stripes.

The brand is set to showcase a new collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Importantly, Ngxokolo saw a noticeable absence of upscale brands that drew inspiration from Xhosa culture. This observation prompted him to create MaXhosa Africa, a designer label known for its vibrant Xhosa patterns and high-quality knitwear. MaXhosa has garnered widespread acclaim since then, receiving endorsements from Beyoncé, being donned by American musician Alicia Keys, and gracing the pages of Vogue Magazine. Additionally, the brand is set to showcase a new collection at Paris Fashion Week soon. In recent years, there has been a surge of African luxury designers making a mark on the global fashion industry, and Ngxokolo is just one of many leading the way.

In the past two years, three talented South Africans – Thebe Magugu, Lukhanyo Mdingi, and Sindiso Khumalo – have been recognized with the esteemed LVMH Prize for up-and-coming designers. Following that, Beyoncé’s Black Is King film in 2020 highlighted Africa’s top fashion labels to a global audience. Vogue’s promotion of African fashion has been on the rise, highlighted by a cover story in 2022 featuring actress Michaela Coel in Ghana that quickly gained widespread attention. Africa has been highlighted as a potential future global hub by a recent report from Unesco, suggesting that the continent possesses the necessary elements to rise to the forefront of the industry.

He is influenced by the unique way women in Africa style fabrics.

Also, in recent weeks, Unesco’s predictions have been supported by the successful launch of new collections from various African brands, including MaXhosa, at the major fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, London, and New York. Notable brands from Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon have all contributed to the industry’s momentum. Following his performance in Paris, Imane Ayissi, a ballet dancer who transitioned into design, mentions a significant rise in the representation of African designers at events across Europe. He mentioned that just six years ago, there was a complete absence of African designers in the major fashion week events held in the Western world.

Ayissi comes from a talented lineage, with a father who was a champion boxer in Cameroon and a mother who was a beauty queen. His designs showcased in Paris feature intricate layers of taffeta and satin, infused with kente from Ghana and traditional textiles from Burkina Faso. Combining satin with traditional African fabrics, Imane Ayissi’s newest line draws inspiration from how women in various African regions, especially in Western and Central Africa, simple pieces of fabric into intricate skirts with multiple layers. The designer explained that his main influence is the unique way women in different African countries style fabrics by draping them around their hips.

Related Article: The Fashion Industry in Nigeria and Africa

What is the reason behind the sudden surge in popularity of African styles and textiles in recent times? According to Frederica Brooksworth, CEO of the Council for International African Fashion Education (CIAFE), there are several factors at play, including the global impact of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. She expressed that due to the shift to online platforms and limited participation in events like fashion weeks, Africa finally had a chance to have its voice heard on a global scale.

Related Link

MaXhosa: Website

The content on is given for general information only and does not constitute a professional opinion, and users should seek their own legal/professional advice. There is data available online that lists details, facts and further information not listed in this post, please complete your own investigation into these matters and reach your own conclusion. accepts no responsibility for losses from any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of content contained in this website and/or other websites which may be linked to this website.

Fact Checking Tool -