“Maru” means “clouds” in Setswana and was birthed by Sabine Matsheka in Gaborone, Botswana. Maru is inspired by life beneath the clouds, in the sun-baked Kalahari Desert, quenched by the wealth of the Okavango Delta. Elements of nature are the centre soul of Maru. Maru envisions recalling the modern Motswana woman, who before her modernity too was engorged by the luxury of natural fibres, paid attention to detail and only accepted fine quality as the standard. Through a lightly carved style from clean lines, simple form and lush fabric, Maru hankers the resurgence of her unexacting grace.
Maru to Sabine is passion to the project - its depth of purpose is to carve a path towards an active textile and manufacturing industry in Botswana, where we are combatively intersectional in our approach. Envisaging this utopia is the very reason Matsheka was adamant Maru be bottom up sustainable. Matshekas’ adamance of having Maru be sustainable is an intersecting point of its vision - to be kind to the land we’ve been given, and give back to it. Sustainable practice in a growing economy is no easy feat. Belonging to a nation of just over 2 million people, where our manufacturing and textile industry is still small (but burgeoning), and oftentimes are reliant on our neighbours, soliciting their production (although they face their own set of challenges). Maru though, fully utilises local production in Botswana. We also practice 100% Black employment, from craftspeople to delivery partners, and where at all possible, Black women (we are at around 90%).
The points of intersection is Maru’s mission includes encouraging localisation, growth of the Black economy, digital engagement, welcoming tourism, women empowerment and of course
sustainability and ethical-consumerism.
Creating such a narrative for the Motswana woman and re-establishing her identity is of great importance to Matsheka, whose background is vested in development of the African region. A Motswana woman herself, Matsheka has travelled awide and lived afar - from Brussels to Gaborone and Washington DC, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, London and Geneva in between. Matsheka obtained her Masters degree at LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science) following, has worked in the non-profit space and developed a drive to pioneer digital access across the continent.
Our S/S ‘21 collection is the first juncture to lift off into what we see the Maru woman to be - she's a dreamer above everything, but still she stays grounded. Her footing anchored softly in our brown sands, with enough headroom to wander. The sands of Botswana to her, are ethereal.
Mosadi wa Maru - a woman of the Clouds, trusts in the strength of womanship.
It’s depending on her might to build mine. Allowing me to dream while she keeps us steady in her grounding. Growing in my power while she renews hers. Interchanging our energies, transversing the planes, in a shared spotlight.
Made to be worn everywhere and every way beneath them. Every piece in this collection has been ascribed to the beautiful names we’ve been given in Setswana. Many are named after women who are held close to Maru. Gofaone which is the name given to our knot bag, is the name of a dear friend to Maru and soon to be mother of Something Sincere - sustainable decor, celebrating African heritage, who we look to for support in the growth of Maru.
"Gofaone" means "It is He above the clouds who gives" in Setswana. Batswana people dwell within Southern Africa between Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia by effect of colonisation and migration, and further to the US, UK and beyond - fostering the Batswana and African diaspora. This is chronicled in Marus collections too. We strive to hearten Pan-Africanism through such chronicles.
The fabrics used to create this collection are all organic and have been carefully constructed by local craftspeople, in linen, rayon and cotton. These natural fabrics allow our bodies that carry garments, to breathe, and the earth to, too. They’re light and airy, with touch to structure in its lines. Each piece is made to be worn interchangeably with one another, plain or adorned.
The pieces in this collection envisaged every modern Motswana woman.
Photography: Wenzile Dube
Make-up: Anthea Kingg