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South Africa’s Mantsho Just Became the First African Brand to Collaborate with H&M

Palesa Mokubung describes her collaboration with H&M as her "love letter to the world from Africa."

H&M's collaboration with South Africa's Mantsho marks the first time the clothing retail giant collaborates with an African brand/designer. H&M has collaborated with French and Italian brands, Balmain and Moschino.


The H&M x Mantsho range includes women's accessories, clothes and shoes. The items use overtly (South) African patterns combined with western designs.

"Mantsho x H&M is an exciting collection celebrating the elegance and vibrancy of Africa with modern edgy designs created for the stylish carefree woman," said the two brands in a joint statement about the range which was launched on August 15.

"I hope customers around the world will enjoy this ensemble of my stand-out pieces from my last three collections," says Palesa Mokubung (38), the head of design at Mantsho about the range which she describes as her "love letter to the world from Africa."

Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M's Assortment Manager for Collaborations and Special Collections said about the range:

"Palesa's creativity with colour, print and silhouettes is inspiring as she celebrates the female form through her designs which complement the female shape in a flattering and playful way. We are so excited to share this collection with our customers across the globe,"

"Mantsho" means "Black is beautiful" in Sesotho, which is Mantsho's home language. She founded the label in 2004, and has gone on to showcase on runways in countries such as the US, Greece and India.

You can view and shop the whole range here.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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