Thebe Magugu released his Heritage collection last year on 25 May 2023 and now a year later in celebration of the international relaunch of www.thebemagugu.com, he has announced the 2nd instalment of the Heritage Series – a story exclusive to British Vogue.
The “Mother & Child” motif created by artist Phathu Nembilwi served as Thebe’s primary visual representation of the festive and totemic studies of nine South African cultures. For the next two weeks, we will publish brief essays, written exclusively for the capsule, by Dr. M.E. Chauke from the Department of Health Studies at UNISA, Prof. J.D. Mokoena from the Department of Nursing Sciences at SMHSU, and Prof. M.C. Matlakala from the Department of Health Studies at UNISA. These essays will explain each culture’s folkloric childbearing rituals and beliefs.
For the muses in the image above, I invited women who have been a personal inspiration to me and are also leaders in their respective fields, across music, film, law, fashion, art and politics. Strength, as you will see in the artistic portraits that support this project, is a critical component of this project and the women here have shown it in such a sophisticated, powerfully feminine and graceful manner. The 9 images illustrating each dress, to be released over the next two weeks, sees subjects carrying a multitude of objects on their heads, much like my own family, who swung between South Africa and The Kingdom of Lesotho. Seeing the women in my family have to carry children on their back and necessities on their head always reminded me of (incredibly chic) Afro totem poles; a showcase of utter strength both physical and symbolic and I wanted to pay homage to this memory. This has been photographed by fine art photographer Tatenda Chidora and art director Chloe Andrea Welgemoed.
The picture includes the likes of Zandile Tshabalala, Pearl Thusi, Lindi Mazibuko, Bee Diamondhead, Syntiche Kabuya, Lita Miti-Qamata, Nadia Nakai, Reneilwe Lebea and Anak Akol. Thebe Magugu listened to the people who have feedback on the last capsule and included the newly-minted Ndebele “Mother & Child” Dress