The marriage of traditional wear and modernity.
31 December 2017 saw the organization of the first Afropunk festival on African soil. Originally from the United States of America, founded by James Spooner and Matthew Morgan. Afropunk Festival was inspired by James Spooner's 2003 film that explored the experiences of black punks in America.
The Festival is describe to be "defining culture by the collective creative actions of the individual and the group. It is a safe place, a blank space to freak out in, to construct a new reality, to live your life as you see fit, while making sense of the world around you." (according to www.afropunkfest.com).
The iconic Constitutional Hill (fitting metaphor : "punk" and "freedom" as synonymous terms) became the location for this illustrious festival. A fitting background for an expansive display of sartorial freedom and unhindered expressionism. The body canvases were painted with flamboyant style expressive of individuality. Individuality that hinges on the essence of the name of the festive itself. "Punk" to be more exact.
KGOMOTSO NETO TLEANE
The highlight of the event (apart from music, beverages, food & company) was the African imprint attendees engraved in the mind of bystanders in their manner of dress. The pride of Pan-Africanism shone brighter than the fire crackers that lit the midnight sky. Signifying more than just a new year but also a generation that understood that modern fashion is not a bilateral argument between Western fashion and Afrocentric/"cultural" fashion.
A 21st century festival with forward thinking & progressive millennial's embracing heritage and giving it an unlimited life span. Western thought would have certain people believe that 'traditional' wear has no place in civil society because consuming Western goods benefits them. Also, this creates a disconnect between the people and their history. But culture, heritage and the African is as modern as it is aesthetically appealing.
Xhosa and Ndebele influenced outfits were some of the dominant looks. From neck rings : inspired by the Ndebele culture. In the respective culture married women wear the copper made coils which are a symbol of royalty. A fitting fashion statement for the Afro-punk. The Xhosa "isidanga" necklace originally worn by men to weddings, other ceremonies and festivities was seen worn with accompanying head bands. It was a page from royalty.
The Kenyan Masai, South African indigenous cultures, East and West African tribes also contributed their prints, patterns and colors. Afrofuturism was the ambience as African traditional wear stood in matrimony with modern fashion and was in vogue as Anderson .Paak sang 'Yes Lord'.