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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist


Boity and Lupita Nyong’o celebrate their grandmothers through Thebe’s Heirloom Shirt

Customers have a few days left to pre-order the shirt from the Thebe Magugu website and will receive their custom-made blouses in December.


Last month fashion designer Thebe Magugu said he would custom-make his classic Heirloom Shirt for consumers who wanted to have their loved ones imprinted on the blouse. Boity and actress Lupita Nyong’o are some of the celebs that have shared their personal stories.

“The picture I chose for Heirloom Shirt is that of my grandmother Nombulelo Thulo, looking as ethereal as she always does, and wearing a chic Afro wig. It’s always made her look like the phenomenal Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,” Boity said about her design.

A few seasons ago Magugu made the African Wax print blouse that had images of his family all over it. How he included the narration of his family history through apparel caught the attention of the fashion world. African Wax prints are synonymous with carrying important figures in history.

It’s unclear how much the customised shirts will go for, but the ones with some of Magugu’s family are priced at R6,500 a piece on his website.

NOW READ: Designer Thebe Magugu to custom make his classic Heirloom Shirt for customers

Heartfelt apparel

Elaborating on her grandmother and why she chose this particular image of her granny, media personality Boity said she looked the happiest in the said photo.

“I have always loved this image of my grandmother because in this moment, she was at her happiest. She is also sitting next to my grandfather, who has now unfortunately passed on. The fact that there is somewhat a part of him in this image – because they were inseparable – is why I also chose it.”

“It gives a glimpse of the younger version of my grandma, who was a super ‘fashionista’, loved wearing wigs and putting on makeup, posing for the camera, etc. But here, it’s as though we get the best of both her earlier and current life, merged into one, straddling the past and present”

The Thebe Magugu piece carries weight not only here in South Africa but in other parts of the world. It’s no surprise that Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o also has her own custom-made Heirloom Shirt. As Boity did, Lupita preferred to have her grandmother’s face on the shirt.

“I remember my grandmother, Dorca Owino Amolo, always bent over, working. She was never idle. She picked corn from her farm, de-kerneled it, dried it in the sun, sent it to be ground into flour in the local mill, and then cooked it into large mounds of delicious Ugali for the whole family to eat,” Lupita said explaining why she chose her grandmother.

“She grew her own vegetables, she raised her own livestock, she fermented her own milk. She swept, she washed, she brushed, she scrubbed, she chopped, she stirred, she pounded, she rolled. And she did all of this quietly, swiftly, gracefully and joyfully. Grandma taught me that work can be an expression of love, and I learned how to love the work of my body from her.”

US writer and influencer Kimberly Drew also chose to celebrate her grandmothers while Nigerian actress Temi Otedola chose to have her mother’s photo on the shirt.

ALSO READ: Former Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida to launch another book and swimwear line

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Boitumelo "Boity" Thulo fashion Hollywood