Photo Credit: @thebemagugu; @lupitanyongo/Instagram

If fashion tells a part of our individual story, then the people who are a part of that story should be recognised! This is the thinking behind the latest collection from Joburg-based Thebe Magugu, who recently made a special piece for none other than Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.


Global (18 October 2023) — South African fashion elite and visual storyteller Thebe Magugu has a new collection that does the opposite of what most designs do.

Instead of leading people to wear the imaginings of the designer, Magugu is on a journey of letting people lead his creations by encouraging them to share the stories and visuals of their loved ones to create pieces.

Like a photograph in a locket, his Heirloom Shirts are a visual love letter to the people who have helped build the wearer’s story, and recently, none other than Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o trusted Magugu with the visual telling of her grandmother.


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A post shared by Thebe Magugu (@thebemagugu)

“I remember my grandmother, Dorca Owino Amolo, always bent over, working. She was never idle. She picked corn from her farm, de-kerneled it, dried it in the sun, sent it to be ground into flour in the local mill, and then cooked it into large mounds of delicious Ugali for the whole family to eat. She grew her own vegetables, she raised her own livestock, she fermented her own milk. She swept, she washed, she brushed, she scrubbed, she chopped, she stirred, she pounded, she rolled. And she did all of this quietly, swiftly, gracefully and joyfully.  Grandma taught me that work can be an expression of love, and I learned how to love the work of my body from her.”—Lupita Nyong’o. 

Magugu’s eponymous brand (which still operates in Johannesburg) has dressed the likes of Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus among other big names in the pop culture scene.

While often these star-worn designs have told a South African story or an African one, the heart Magugu has sparked for people to connect with their own heritage is yet another thread of the proudly South Africanism Magugu’s work exudes.

Sources: Various (Linked Above)
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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