Legendary ‘Madiba shirt’ designer, Sonwabile Ndamase, showcased his latest collection at this year’s Mandela Bay Fashion Week (MBFW), from 11 - 14 October.

He opted to round off his creations with the Relate Trust’s Mandela Centenary Campaign bracelets.

The visionary talents of Ndamase have been the creative force driving the Vukani Fashions brand, and he is famous for designing many of the colourful, African-inspired shirts that became Nelson Mandela’s trademark look.   

In honour of Madiba’s hundredth year, the designer adorned all models showcasing his Vukani line at the MBFW with Relate’s Centenary bracelets.

Through their campaign, Relate aims to raise funds and awareness for the Nelson Mandela School Library Project ‒ a programme that installs and maintains fully stocked libraries in under-resourced schools across South Africa.

The initiative is set to run until Madiba’s 101st birthday in July 2019.

“There is a Madiba in all of us. And what Relate is trying to do is show us how to see the Madiba in ourselves,” Ndamase said, adding that Relate’s values and upliftment efforts, through it’s job creation and products, are aligned with Madiba’s vision of a poverty-free, unified South Africa.

Through the production and sale of the bracelets, Relate also fosters much-needed employment for young people, gogos and tatas from poor communities.

Elaborating on the inclusion of Relate bracelets in the prestigious fashion show, Ndamase added, “Relate is showing that the initiatives and sentiment behind Mandela Day shouldn’t just be a one-day event on 18 July. Their bracelets are a reminder to those that wear them, and those who see them, of the importance of lending support to the most vulnerable and desperate people. We have the power as a nation to make every day a Mandela Day.”  

Relate CEO, Neil Robinson commented, “To work with a visionary such as Sonwabile is incredible and such an honour for Relate. Not only are his designs a visceral reminder of one of the world’s greatest icons but he’s also using this moment to directly connect to a cause that was close to Madiba’s heart - that of education and reading.

“Join Relate and Sonwabile in honouring this great legacy. By supporting the Centenary campaign and Vukani Fashions, we can achieve the goals of equality that Madiba fought for.”

Items from the Vukani collection are already being sold in select Edgars stores around the country.  Proceeds from the sale of the collection - which includes an array of enviable dresses, shirts and skirts - will go towards the Nelson Mandela Foundation 100 Fund, which supports the clothing, feeding and education of families in need in South Africa.

The Relate Centenary campaign bracelets can be bought at Woolworths stores, selected Protea by Marriott Hotels, Made In SA, Out of Africa, The Tiger’s Eye stores nationwide, and online here.

“No matter how small the action, you can help to change the world for the better, for all. Lend a helping hand today to the less fortunate and start making that change,” Ndamase proclaimed.