Latoya Nontokozo Buthelezi, known as Toya Delazy is a musician, artist and style muse originally from KwaZulu-Natal South Africa and is currently based in London UK. We at PatternNation were introduced to Delazy through some mutual friends in London. While she was visiting Cape Town this February we finally got to connect after seeing the alignment in our art, style, fashion and music taste. We decided to make a photoshoot happen before she returned to London and teamed up with talented local photographer Courtney Rabbit to snap these PatternNation looks at an iconic Cape Town location. PatternNation designers Cyd Eva and Costa Besta moved to Cape Town from Durban in 2020 to study fashion for a year at Cape Town College of Fashion Design and Delazy’s looks in this shoot showcase our hand-painted, sewn, embroidered and designed year-end creations. Blown away by Delazy’s AfroRave movement and especially the costuming, track and dancing in her music video "Funani", we are overjoyed to have her wearing our one-of-a-kind designs styled with beadwork from Durban and Belize as well as her traditional Zulu headwear.
We asked her some questions about her recent time in South Africa, AfroRave and what she has in the works creatively.
Being based in London, how do you stay connected to South Africa while still embracing the vibrancy of London town?
Social media is my main point of connection, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram is still connecting me with my fans across the world and continent and then friends and family. I also still work with producers and artists from home so I'm always on the pulse of what is happening around me.
How does being a queer South African artist inform your music and style?
Well, my style is genuine. I use it as a form of expression and I represent myself and my experiences through my music.
Tell us about AfroRave and what it means to you?
AfroRave is an African alternative music genre created from a fusion of left field bass/techno, drum and bass and vernacular rap - it's a space that hasn't been given the platform it deserves where our indigenous languages and culture are celebrated in rave. We often glorify American or European expressions in these genres and our own culture and identity takes the back seat - It's a fusion of where I have come from and where I am right now as a Zulu girl living in a global space all these influences made me pour into this genre whilst being authentic to my experience.
How has your recent trip to South Africa inspired you? And how was your time in South Africa different from this trip due to the Covid-19 Regulations?
I needed it. Europe was dry during the lockdowns, especially London, it felt like the merry-go-round had been switched off and the funfair was over. Since London runs in this very show fair manner without all the bustling and activity, it was all concrete. So I managed to fly back home just as the international lockdown kicked in and all flights out of Britain to South Africa were cancelled. I arrived home to a warm climate, I reconnected with nature and went home just to reconnect with my roots, we went to the Kruger National Park and seeing the real kings of the jungle, I remembered my place, and as much as we were caught up in this pandemic the real world was still out there. I had to take a Covid test before seeing my grandad. It was quite complicated, as this pandemic makes everyone susceptible to each other and I coming from England, which had recorded a new strain was under a lot of scrutiny... I didn't even get to hug him, we just elbowed, but I was happy that at least I got to see him. When we got to Cape Town it was OK to follow the restrictions, I mean in South Africa even though there were alcohol restrictions we had friends with cellars so we didn't feel it too much, but the curfews did mean most friends had to dip just when the vibes were getting nice. Each time President Rhamaphosa spoke we held our breath, hoping that he doesn't ban international travel as that would have been messy cause we needed to get back to our flat in London as we were still renting at the time. So we had real risks to think of, eventually, we left a week earlier than planned because Britain introduced hotel quarantines which meant even if you have a house in London you would have to pay 1.7K pounds (approx 34K in Rand's) per person to stay in a hotel, so we called it and left and arrived in London a day before the quarantine began. Other than that, it was fire! My girl and I hiked a lot and used the time to reconnect with nature and self, I even ran up the Camps Bay to Hout Bay basin rim... I had so much gratitude, I love home so much, my move to the U.K was to expand not escape.
Your style and esthetic are often very colourful, how do you use colour to express yourself?
Colours are energy and frequency just like music and these frequencies are how we speak to the universe. Colour helps me balance my mood and energy just like a musical note and therefore style is therapeutic for me.
We at PatternNation love patterns and would love to know how patterns inspire you and what cultural significance patterns have in your life.
As a Zulu, I grew up surrounded by patterns that are symbolic of prestige, power and send out a strong message. We are exposed to patterns from a young age in my culture, when a young girl comes of age there is an outfit and ceremony for it as well as when she becomes a young lady or when she marries. Another prominent instance is in the Zulu regiment regalia it is made from leopard skin, the leopard is a very sacred animal in Africa and you will find most Bantu tribes incorporate this pattern as a symbol of fierceness and power the leopard is the real king of the jungle, not the lion. Zulus are very symbolic with their attires and colours; it's all part of our expression.
Do you have any new music coming out that we should know about?
Yes - I have been writing an AfroRave album during the lockdown. That's what I spent my time doing perfecting my sound and finding my voice my the first single will be out in May.
Toya Delazy’s music can be found on all major streaming platforms and music videos on YouTube.
You can find PatternNation clothing for sale in South Africa at Blue Priest Afrotek Store 42 Palmer road Muizenberg Western Cape.
Tunic designed by: Costa Besta
Overalls designed by Cyd Eva
Yearend Designs from: CTCFD
Photographer and editing: Courtney Rabbit
Location: Camps Bay Cape Town South Africa