Interview: Kahindo Stuns Again in Mzansi

The New-York-based designer spoke to ZAlebs at AFIFWJ

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:43 PM  | Kahindo Mateene  | Top of The

Kahindo Mateene is the very definition of "Pan-African". She was born in Uganda to Congolese parents and has since lived in Nigeria and Ethiopia: and this week she showcased in South Africa. Her work screams "African" too; in fact, previous collections have paid homage to our country.

Her SS19 collection was proudly inspired by the bright and beautiful colours of Bo Kaap in Cape Town and she has showcased in our country twice. This Saturday she showed off her latest collection at the recently concluded AFI Fashion Week Joburg which took place at the Sandton Convention Center and her collection truly lived up to this year's theme, I Am African.

As soon as she was done showing off her bold and bright threads, we managed to catch up with her on the red carpet for a quick interview and we were pleased to see how excited she was when we mentioned we were from ZAlebs.

After greeting her in broken French, we kicked off the interview where we began by not only praising her latest collection but asking what she thought of the reception to it.

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"It's been incredible so far! I have been absolutely blown away and I was a little bit nervous but I am so glad that it went as well as it did today. I think it was well-received"

This isn't the first time that she has shown off her work in South Africa and I asked if she was slowly becoming a regular in Mzansi.

"I am really proud to be African, I am proud to be pan-African. It's always great to be back on the continent and giving back in such a big way and South Africa is no different".

We shifted the conversation to her Spring/Summer 2020 collection which she had just shown off at AFI's illustrious Fashion Week Joburg and we touched on the strong Nigerian influences in her prints.

"I worked with a Nigerian artist who creates paintings so I took one of the paintings and turned it into some of the prints that you saw and I re-did it, re-coloured it and this was the end result. African prints can sometimes be very heavy and stiff. I wanted mine to be fluid and flow like water."

Having previously been inspired by the beautiful textures of the Bo Kaap housing, we asked if we could ever see her drawing inspiration from Mzansi's other city - Johannesburg. She already had her eye on a couple of spots:

"I love Sandton, it's glitzy, it's chic, it's colourful, so I would probably start there. But then, I also love Soweto - the colours and the character in that part of the city, I wouldn't mind using that for inspiration."

We wrapped up by asking if she would be open to hitting up a chisa nyama with us in Soweto:

"Absolutely! You just tell me how to get there and I'll be there!"

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Image Credit: Provided by Reze Bonna
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