Designer inspired by his rural roots

Local fashion designer and vocalist Siyabonga Mpanjukelwa started his Fashion brand, Maqithini in 2019 using checked blankets fondly known as Ityali in isiXhosa.

Mpanjukelwa who is now based in East London, described his upbringing as one that was difficult growing up in Mthatha “Ï used to patch my clothes. I would constantly get into trouble with the teachers at school for patching school uniform using printed cloth.”

In his brand Mpanjukelwa designs hand bags, backpacks, T-shirts, hats, pants and dresses. He said what inspired the fashion label is simply the roots of African homes, “in every household you will find ityali so now I remind our people of their background and where they come from with their grandmothers through fashion.”

Although Mpanjuklewa did not go to Fashion-School to become a designer, his talent solely speaks for itself. “I was helped by a woman from Cala who saw my designs on Whatsapp. She invited me to her house and demonstrated how the sewing machine works, and told me to take it”

“In September 2019 I came across an advert which invited all fashion designers in the Chris Hani District to part-take in Inkcubeko Yethu Fashion Show. There I was competing against professional, top fashion designers who come from school.” Mpanjukelwa said he took the title because of the uniqueness of his designs.

The fashionista said he is also grateful to have spent time in the rural areas, as someone who had been exposed to the urban culture.”I got to explore the depth of rural life, how they dress, the food and how beautiful they look in their traditional attires. I gained a lot from being there.”he said

Last year saw the Eastern Cape designer representing his province in SA fashion Runway that was hosted in Durban. “Things became slow after that because of the pandemic, I have not attended a fashion show since then.”

Mpanjukelwa said his brand caters for everyone, from young people to the elderly. People can contact him for orders on 065 240 5474/ 0652810329 OR visit Siyabonga Mpanjukelwa on Facebook.


A model showing off Siyabonga Mpanjukelwa’s designs.


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