Sho Madjozi's bold style and strong roots in her heritage make her one of the most exciting entertainment artists in Africa.
The powerhouse musician and front woman of the new Edgars TV commercial tells us why her style and identity are intertwined.
With her colourful pom-poms, braided hair and tasselled skirts, it’s easy to consider musician and poet Sho Madjozi’s style to be eccentric. But there is consideration and tradition at the root of every accessory and garment. Born Maya Wegerif, this Limpopo-bred muso’s look is a tapestry of her culture and background, and she is unapologetic about it. Let’s decode the key pieces:
Colour and Sho Madjozi belong in the same WhatsApp group. You’ll never catch the muso in anything dull and it’s an inter-generational phenomenon; 'I grew up thinking that my affinity to bright pink and yellow was my choice, but when I look at old photographs of my mom and aunts, I see those colours dominating their clothing too,' she says.
These little accessories dot the shibelane and make great earrings and decorative trinkets to handbags and shoes. 'I make my outfits in collaboration with my aunts, grandma and tailors, and I was really inspired when I saw other Africans wearing their traditional attire daily. For instance, Senegalese people dress like Senegalese people all the time, and not only on Heritage Day. I wanted to find a way to be a whole version of myself all the time,' says the star, whose outfit is never complete without a pompom or two.
Cornrows and braids making intricate patterns across the head have also become synonymous with the star, who avoids wearing wigs and weaves. These braided styles have been part of many African cultures for centuries and are a permanent part of her style arsenal; 'I reject the idea that I have to take off my tradition to be palatable,' she says.
The tasseled skirt (shibelane)
Worn by Xitsonga women at traditional gatherings in performance of the Xibelani dance, this multi-coloured skirt is designed to make the wearer’s waist look bigger, thereby emphasizing the shaking movement of the dance. 'When I was young, that is how women and girls dressed for special occasions; it became what I understand to be beautiful,' says the muso. 'I have been criticised by some who say I wear my shibelane too short. But I’ve stuck to my style; this is my version that I have modernised to maintain practical wearability and relevance.'
Photography: Alexa Singer, styling: Melissa Henderson, hair: Princess, make-up: Karabo