TOZAMA Nandipha Dyantyi walked away with the overall prize (Best Collection category) worth R73 000 at the 17th annual Vukani Fashion Awards held in East...

TOZAMA Nandipha Dyantyi walked away with the overall prize (Best Collection category) worth R73 000 at the 17th annual Vukani Fashion Awards held in East London’s Hemingway Shopping Centre together with a fashion exhibition recently.

The judges described Dyantyi’s line, which she draws inspiration from contemporary politics and the country’s colonial history as fearlessly controversial.

“The line is deeply rooted in the changing stories and positions of the black community. Through fashion, Dyantyi tells all their stories from the domestic worker to the ‘black diamond’.

“The use of neutral creams and shades of brown and the choice of linen and cotton is a purposeful reflection of the unvarnished and raw stories she tells about our reality. Her tone is critical but also expresses an offbeat sense of humour,” says Vukani Fashion Awards chief executive, Sonwabile Ndamase.

‘Assertive maids who take on their fellow colleagues’ inspire a piece in the collection. For this look the designer teams a relaxed pair of shorts and tank top with a carefully tailored jacket. The outfit is undeniably chic and feminine, but with a sense of rebellion in the mix of the formal and casual.

Dyantyi, who hails from the small town of Cala in the Eastern Cape, says winning the award has given her a sense of possibility that fortunes can change for the better.

“The Vukani Fashion Awards are a significant icon of visual identity to a South African. A beacon of change, a spirit of inclusion and community building, after Madiba’s own heart, inspires, develops, and teaches the youth beyond colour, history and religion and culture. Being a winner means that the possibility of beating poverty is visible, especially within the communities of the Eastern Cape,” says Dyantyi.

The High Fashion winner, Jaynie Potgieter says: “The Vukani Fashion Awards has a great platform in helping aspiring designers in building their futures and getting themselves out there, whether it’s by media through the shows, or participating in the mentorships they offer. A lot of successful designers climbed their first step to success through Vukani Awards.”

Ndamase, well known as the creator of the Madiba shirt which became synonymous with the icon image of statesman Nelson Mandela says the Vukani Fashion Awards were born out of his personal understanding of the challenges of penetrating the fashion industry.

Ndamase congratulated all the young fashion designers on their interpretation of this year’s theme “Craft My Future in the Wall of History”.

He says as modern as their designs have matured, they have rediscovered the importance of textures. This is evident in their contemporary designs. The willingness to explore and experiment the history of South Africa can also be seen in the colours used in confidence and panache to create stimulating, individualised country-creations within the theme.

He also hailed the way the Eastern Cape Province has received these Awards, from workshops, exhibitions to the fashion showcasing.

Despite South Africa’s positive growth trajectory over the last 10 years, unemployment and poverty persist at alarming levels. Around a quarter of South Africa’s economically active population are unemployed, while over 50% of young work-seekers (18-24) remain jobless. The problem is deep-rooted high unemployment is a direct cause of on-going poverty, which in turn reinforces social marginalisation and reduces the prospects for skills development and accessing jobs, Ndamase continues.

The problem is deep-rooted high unemployment is a direct cause of on-going poverty, which in turn reinforces social marginalisation and reduces the prospects for skills development and accessing jobs, Ndamase continues.

For these reasons, the creation of jobs or “decent work” sits at the forefront of economic policy, and represents a primary barometer of South Africa’s progress”. The success of this annual event is accredited largely to the event’s sponsors (ECDC,

The success of this annual event is accredited largely to the event’s sponsors (ECDC, SAFDA, BERNINA, HEMINGWAYS MALL, EASTERN CAPE ARTS & CULTURE) who lend their names and their financial support to the project.

The money we raise each year goes to the development of local fashion designers, while this year’s goal is aimed at developing 21 emerging local fashion entrepreneurs within the region of the Eastern Cape, using the Winnie Mandela Signature Collection for branding their products.

Carmen Freeman emerged the winner of the Most Innovative Designs worth R29,000 with the High Fashion Award worth R33,500 going to Jaynie Potgieter.

News editor