Stories of freedom and liberation are not without their accompanying Ghosts — drenched in the blood, sweat and tears that our ancestors sacrificed as resistive offerings for our future(s). On the 27th of April 1994 South Africa held its first democratic elections and with this, people who were not previously considered South Africans, became citizens. This ushered in by the dignity and humanity the right to vote is said to imbue. This is our history of revolution woven through struggle.
Thebe Magugu and Wanda Lephoto are brands both rooted in storytelling and in documenting culture — with an approach to creation situated in rememory, intimate, affective archival work and turning towards home and homing as life affirming sites of reclaiming our histories and ideas of Self, declared shameful by exogenous socio-political and historical forces.
Historically, printed shirts have existed as sites of resistance, and in carrying on the tactile tradition of looking to ourselves and our stories for inspiration and hope, Magugu and Lephoto have collaborated on a new t-shirt. The collaboration — under the name Project: 16.1.C — is inspired by our South Africa’s Bill of Rights, specifically the clause articulating the right to creative expression and individuality.
While “language can deform actualities” — other spaces of expression such as fashion — hold the capacity to “speak” truer truths of our stories. Perhaps, this is why fashion has also historically been a powerful medium of inciting change.
As we hold collective memorial for those who sacrificed their own futures for ours and as we celebrate our hard fought for freedom — I spoke to Magugu and Lephoto about the past, present and future — and about the significance of their Project: 16.1.C collaboration.
Photography by: Andile Buka
Creative Direction by: Jamal Nxedlana
Styling & Direction by: Amy Zama
Creative Production by: Moipone Tlale
Written by: Lindiwe Mngxitama
Makeup: Aimee (Bobby) Lokota
Retouched by: Ashiq Johnson
CGI: Lex Trickett
Production Assistant: Joy Mahamba
Lighting Assistants: Kgomotso Neto & Amanda Buka
May 2, 2022