There comes a time when every slave has to question his master’s actions.
A moment when he realizes that the only thing that separates them is power and authority. Which, in this material world, a slave can easily buy for himself if given the opportunity.
A time when a slave develops a different perspective of himself. The kind of perspective that makes him question who he is, where he is, where he has been and where he is going.
That slave now knows himself, his worth and his strength. He now knows that..
She is Africa.
I walk on the soil of my ancestors and those that came before them
A land that once radiated with the kind of luxury that only nature can provide
Soft, fertile and warm.. just like my mother’s womb
My happy place. My home. My Africa.
A womb that birthed love, kindness and beauty
My feet turned cold the moment they left her comfort
Hardened by the debris of man-made concrete thorns
Filled with hostility and malice
Scarring my precious feet
But with every step I take, my bloodstained soles bring new life that blossoms with pride.
My body yearns for the warmth that comes with the glittering sun
That makes my skin glow with the kind of beauty that only a Goddess can possess
I look up, soaking in all the goodness that’s beaming on my face
Soak it all in before the night creeps in, denying me the source of my being
Denying me my freedom
Below the beautiful mountain that stands tall and proud
A world wonder, a spectacle of majesty
Her people are suffering and live in filth
Feeling destitute and subdued to poverty and shame
Settling for crumbs and hoping for a better tomorrow
But tomorrow is now
And we don’t hope anymore, we expect.
In the midst of all that filth, we stand tall with our heads held high
Blossoming like spring
Building our kingdoms so we can reign
Yes, we don’t hope, we expect.
Expecting the days when we can sit on our thrones
Small steps and victories every day.
Collecting and celebrating small successes that paint the ultimate picture
Our royalty isn’t dictated by how our blood flows,
It’s our state of mind.
She is Africa.
The XiTu Era
This is my special and official welcome to all my readers to ‘That’s My Crown’.
When I first started thinking about creating this blog a year ago, I was driven by a slogan that I had made up in my mind: “Africa For World Fashion Capital”, however, I was not as outspoken about it for fear of backlash and just plain ridiculousness. I’m sure it’s not a new concept, but it is the bedrock of this entire website.
After realizing that, of all the fashion capitals in the world, there is no African city that is recognized as one, I was greatly disturbed. I am well aware of the many technicalities involved when dubbing a city a world fashion capital like; a city’s fashion schools, the designers, the calibre of fashion shows and many more important aspects. And I will admit that we may not have reached the kind of level that most of the official fashion capitals have, but we’re well on our way.
Africa may still be developing the technicalities, but there is one thing that we have, different from any other city or continent, and that is our culture. Our fashion culture, inspired by our African heritage. This culture has nothing to do with colourful fabric, but it lies in the hearts and smiles of every African. It is a culture of diversity, not only of our different tribes but our different skin tones, languages and behavioural patterns. It is a culture that recognizes those differences, embraces then and capitalizes on them.
The ‘Xitu’ Era is the narrative that portrays this wonderful diversity, along with another side of it that bears us no fruit but hurts us instead. The ‘Xitu’ dress ensemble is a collective derived from two completely different ends of the spectrum; the traditional XiTsonga skirt ‘Xibelani’ and the ‘Tutu’. The whole idea is inspired by the shape of the ‘Xibelani’ and the ‘Tutu’. Representing a marriage between western and African heritage concepts.
The setting of this narrative, portrayed in the images, aims to highlight the distinctive polarities that differentiate and divide us. The fact that Africa can be seen as a juxtaposition of many possibilities; our struggles and triumphs, moving forward with development and enlightenment – yet still, be restrained and constricted by ignorance and lack of knowledge. A continent with an abundance of resources, led by greed and hostility. But in the midst, all of the artificial smiles and pretentious rallies for equality, Africans at large are finding their strengths and extent of their abilities. We are celebrating life and prosperity because we are taking ownership of our destinies.
We come from an era of oppression, discrimination and prejudice. In reality, these are issues that Africans face on a daily basis. Our difference and diversity started with violence and hatred, with its effects still controlling our lives today. But as we grow, we learn to forgive and accept change. This is a process that cannot be achieved in an instant. When we forgive, we set ourselves free from the mental slavery of any kind of oppression. When we embrace change, we allow ourselves to see different perspectives of life. The change allows us to grow.
‘The Xitu Era’ embraces that change. It is a concept that allows us to use our diversity as a foundation for inspiration. An inspiration for greater creativity. A creativity that sets us apart from any other nation, the kind that makes our culture unique. A culture that is powerful and innovative enough to compete with the worlds greatest. ‘The XiTu Era’ is a narrative that depicts how we can move towards making Africa a recognized fashion capital, by capitalizing in our diversity, taking ownership and responsibility for our prosperity and allowing us to commodify the African experience. ‘The XiTu Era’ is my experience towards that regard.
Africa is no longer “on the rise”, we have risen and it’s about time we take heed of our footprint in the world. Not as a continent still trying to establish its culture among other great nations, but rather as a continent with a solid culture – ready to be embraced as top class and premium, along with all other widely recognized social cultures in the world.
It’s high time we, as Africans – black, white and green – start treating all our experiences and diverse cultures as commodities instead of having other continents/nations do it for us and use it as their own, and then complain about it by making ourselves victims to new-age terms such as “cultural appropriation”. How about we appropriate our own diversity and cash in on it ourselves?
Please take the time to enjoy the beautiful images below – produced by the awesome collaboration between myself, Ludwe, Luvuyo, Samantha, Bulumnko and Frankie (click on their names to view their Instagram accounts). With a special thanks to Barry and his awesome team at ‘Scrap Metal Solutions‘ (Click to view website) for their wonderful hospitality, given in true ‘uBuntu’ style and for sharing their space with us.
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