A young designer is redefining what it means to be authentically Swazi.
Khulekani Msweli, Swaziland’s first modern luxury designer comes from the sugar cane fields of Vuvulane.
After Msweli (27) won funding to study and intern for a fashion designer in England, he returned to found JeremPaul, a clothing and furniture line on track to open an Ezulwini Valley storefront May 2012.
While most of Swaziland is Swazi Nation Land owned by the king (farmers rent from him), Ezulwini was bought by the British in the early 1900s and has since become a capitalist enclave (it’s where spas and the best restaurants are).
The young Msweli learned design from his father who built surrealist furniture from sheet metal for around home before losing his arm at the sugar cane factory.
Msweli’s fashion influences include Namibian graffiti, Massai beadwork, and Alexander McQueen.
He holds up the wings of the royal bird, a ligwalagwala. “I’m putting them on a dress. To me, a Swazi, I know what this means. I don’t need to make something out of some traditional prints or the Swazi shield to know this is Swazi.”