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FASHION FINALIST 2016/ ZAKITI BHENGU

I incorporated concrete and mortar into my “African Queens of Liberty” collection as a symbol of female strength.

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My “African Queens of Liberty” collection was inspired by past and present stories that were the centre of discussion during Women’s Month.

I incorporated concrete and mortar into my collection as a symbol of female strength: when one mixes concrete it transforms from a soft malleable material into one that hardens and gains srength, becoming like a rock.

I have connected this aspect of concrete to the well-known protest chant "Wathint' abafazi wathint' imbokodo", which means "You strike a woman, you strike a rock". The concrete shoulder plate signifies the power and strength of women, their ability to be warriors and queens despite their circumstances. Black lace creates a silhouette outlining the beautiful curves of a woman.

From the silhouette alone one can appreciate her shape and beauty without exposing skin. The centre strip of the top is painted with mortar, representing where her greatest strength lies: her heart and womb. The crown and anklet are a reference to the well-known Statue of Liberty. The history of the statue resonates within the collection. The crown has seven spikes that represent the seven continents and oceans, symbolising diversity and unity.

The anklet represents the broken chain on the statue, symbolising liberty. The “African Queens of Liberty” collection is a dedication to all the women who have broken free from various forms of oppression in past and present times: from protesting for equal rights as a nation, to providing for their families in destitute conditions.

Liberty begins with education, economic freedom, recognising institutionalised oppression and fighting against it.

Zakiti

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