Nkanyeziyethu Malunga | self taught designer

I’m Nkanyeziyethu Malunga Mkosana and I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1989. I’m a self-taught designer and I’m the founder and creative director of Ganu, a brand that advocates for the use of indigenous knowledge systems in textile and clothing production for cultural and economic sustainability.

My use of indigenous knowledge in textiles got me selected to be a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African leaders in 2017.

In 2018, my dream to celebrate African women 

Through an innovative and sustainable collection came to life through the Makoto royal bride concept which I invited a fellow designer to work with.

My collections have been featured at the Durban fashion fair, Mozambique fashion week.

My early encounters with traditional textiles were through my mother ( who at the time was a craft production officer and community worker) and my grandmother, who we used to spend every holiday within the rural areas. Growing up, relatives and friends used to call me to style their head wraps and they’d ask me for style advice. As I grew older I’d attempt to make clothes for dolls. I was always drawing a dress or recycling some dresses. My career in fashion and textile was inspired by the need to share our culturally diverse and hybrid identity of where I come from in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe.

I treasure my heritage, and it played a major role in the direction my career took. Our Zimbabwean heritage is very colorful and in the last century has adopted tribal, eastern and western influences. I wanted to capture and demonstrate how our indigenous knowledge, through disruptive innovation may globally raise awareness of our culture and the progress we’re making as a continent.

Social media has become a platform for Fashion and textile designing to change the African narrative on culture and identity. It is key in the inquiry and documentation of our art. It has influenced consumer behavior.

I like to think it’s a massive market place that has the ability to impact how we interact in our industry.

It has become a virtual runway, market place library, and gallery space. What I also appreciate is that it has created a link between designers and consumers- a welcome contribution to the growth of sustainable fashion and self-representation of our African fashion.

My biggest fear in starting my own brand was entering a creative industry with limited business knowledge, and tailoring skills. I have no formal training in fashion and textile and I wondered if I’d be relevant to the designers  I look up to and I’ve had to make a lot of mistakes to grow.

A GANU woman embraces the sophistication and power of being an African woman in nature, tradition, and origin.

I’d like to be remembered for my role in the preservation of our traditional systems through fashion and textiles in the quest to revive our identity.

For my role in using disruptive innovation for sustainable fashion. For my collaborations with the women who are the reservoirs of indigenous knowledge and are cultural custodians of art.

Dear young queen, failure is your path to success, you are the author of your script, and your dreams are valid, there’s always enough room for all of us to make it.

See some of the work done by Nkanyeziyethu Malunga:


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