RICH MNISI Presents NWA-MULAMULA: LOBOLA '19 Lookbook
"Mothers are the cornerstone of African family structures. From generation to generation, mothers are revered to be fierce protectors, like a lioness to her cubs. They birth nations and carry the burdens of the world on their shoulders. They are the supreme representation of love, bravery and strength. They are the ones known to hold a knife’s edge at the sharpest point. Their fortitude and personality traits are reincarnated through their children, their children’s children and lineage of loved ones who are likened to them. They are the timeless teachers of life and custodians of a centre of family rituals, customs and knowledge. When they crossover to live among the stars that overlook their own, their memory remains only in word; preserved through endearing stories told around a living room. Thus our matriarchs have continuously been erased or underrepresented in the patriarchal centre of memory and in the androcentric etymology of words that shape culture like “history” – from the greek word histor - meaning old wiseman."
"It is with this foundation, that I seek to pay homage to my great grandmother, NWA-MULAMULA; the quintessential mother figure I draw inspiration from. She embodies all the qualities of a mother. A guardian, a beacon of light and represents the generations of strong women that have moulded the man I am today. Although she rests as a guardian in an ancestral realm, her spirit, lessons and sacrifices have defied temporal limitations. An undocumented woman born during World War II from rural Valdezia in Limpopo, she only exists in the time capsule of age old stories fondly told through generations in my family. She is a sacred, powerful and spiritual component of my being."
"In the spirit of imagining an ancestor into existence, this is dedicated to my artistic muse and the place where I draw inspiration - I sought to imagine her into existence, through a daydream of her role as a matriarch set against the backdrop of a Lobola ceremony. Lobola is a ceremonial rite of passage in African culture that brings two families together through marriage. I drew from the visual elements and nostalgia of being a little boy running wild in the midst of a celebration. In this childlike dream, I was engulfed by Nwa-MulaMula’s stature and only awoke to pieces of memorabilia. My pieces reflected highlights of colour, textures, gifts and prints that are reminiscent of this daydream; symbolic of the packaging that transports me back home. Nwa-MulaMula remains the ever towering figure that symbolises the wealth of a family that will grow under her guidance. I feed on the repository of her memory and the soil that sustains a family, pregnant with possibility."
Credits Photography: Ricardo Simal Assisted by Luke Houba & Franco Kellerman MUA: Kailah Gordon Models: Yannick Konan, Deja Bynum, Richard Awuni, Collins Onyejekewe, Summer Zoe Thompson & Dylan Wentzel Assistant: Phillip Wesson