Afrigarde | Ndebele-inspired adornments

March 18, 2019 | By Aryn Guiney

Afrigarde is a collection of multi-functional ranges of Wearable Art, which can be used as Interior or Fashion Design products. The Afrigarde pieces,
created by Maria Uys, look equally good adorning your body as they do decorating your wall. The pieces that make up the  Afrigarde ranges are bold, yet lightweight and versatile, and can be added to any interior space or outfit to create a bold statement.

The Afrigarde range is inspired by the women of the Ndebele culture, who adorn their bodies with beaded hoops and neck rings. It is also ritualistically passed on from one generation to another to paint the walls of their homesteads in brightly colored, geometric patterns. All of these practices inspired the Afrigarde range, which is handmade in South Africa, and covered in Merino Wool Felt to create a natural, soft finish. Each Afrigarde piece has an Ndebele inspired name, which captures the story of the design.

Some of these names include:

ZUNGULEZA – Ndebele word for ENCIRCLE

BOBOTHEKA – Ndebele word for SMILE

CECA – Ndebele word for TO BE ADORNED


Female members of the Ndebele tribe of Southern Africa go to great efforts to beautify both their personal appearance and homes. This can be seen in the bold and colourful body adornment the wear, as well as the geometric murals they paint on the outside walls of their homesteads. The ceremonial jewellery that Ndebele women adopt once they are married, such as neck rings and beaded hoops, as well as the colourful art they paint on the walls of their homes, is what inspired the Afrigarde range of Wearable Art.

Afrigarde was started in 2015, when it was selected as part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives program. Afrigarde now offers paid internships as part of a social entrepreneurship programme aimed at local, at-risk women. Since the launch of the Collection with the Original range, Afrigarde has enjoyed great international success and is regularly featured in the media.

Expanding on their original design of adornments, Afrigarde has just launched a new range of exquisitely crafted earrings.


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