The inscription on her popular blog, The Khoi Fro, condenses Tsholo Dikobe’s passions as much more than being one of Africa’s foremost rising fashion icons and trend forecasters. She writes: “I am kissed by the sun – twice. Words tend to fail me, but I speak fluent volumes through life’s accessories: Fashion, Art, Love, Music, Family, Laughter! I am on that champagne life, on a lemonade budget.” Indeed this is a fashionista we will all get to love in 2014 and beyond…
The African Woman Magazine first met Tsholo Dikobe at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa in Pretoria last November. It was love at first sight, so to speak. Among the many fashionistas, she clearly stood out. Not only did we spot her rather inimitable style, but hey, we fell for her Afro-hairdo too. What’s not to love? Back at base we decided without hesitation that she had all the ingredients that define the NAW ethos, and we hope this is not thTe first and last of Tsholo in our pages. We believe you will concur that she should be a staple, who shares her style tips with us regularly. Therefore, this is our first step to bringing you more from the fashion icon Africa cannot do without.
Esteemed readers, meet fashion heroine Tsholo, all the way from the equally lovely Botswana. This is a woman who takes the word ‘fashion’ way beyond its literal meaning. She says: “Growing up, when words failed me I spoke fluent volumes through the ‘science of appearances’ – fashion. The ‘sciences of appearances’ – outward appearances to inner wellbeing, have always been my passion. I have developed a keen interest in how society can be influenced by an item of clothing. For this reason I fell in love with fashion and culture, the creative arts and its industry as a whole.
“I have explored my own creative identity while integrating art and culture, fashion and textile research, material testing, art direction, innovation and creative techniques, trends, branding, creative entrepreneurship and sustainability. On the other hand, I sensitise my community about sustainable fashion and advocate for creativity and confidence building through fashion.”
Tsholo’s passion for fashion does not end there. She is also founder, artistic director and one half of the fashion blog duo, GaTsh Fros (Gaone and Tsholo), one of Botswana’s foremost fashion consultancies, which focuses on advocating creativity and confidence building through fashion. The duo are unapologetic about their non-conformist fashion sense:
“Our personal style is GaTsh. We ‘mix and miss’ deliberately. We like breaking rules. We just don’t read terms and conditions, because we are fearless pretty young [fashion] thugs. We wear anything we want and how we want it…[if] you think it’s insane, then we love that as a compliment… if you can’t understand how we dress, it brings us so much joy… We don’t dress to impress,” the girls say on their must-visit blog. Tsholo explains further to NAW about the venture:
“GaTsh Fros was founded in 2011 and works with Botswana Fashion designers on brand positioning and retail strategies. GaTsh Fros together with The Voice newspaper (in Botswana) features a select list of talented up-and-coming designers and fashion entrepreneurs in the country. The platform has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Botswana fashion industry, and has drawn it to international attention.”
But Tsholo’s talents do not end there. She has a design background, having created handmade pieces for her business and her partners at GaTsh Fros, themed ‘eco-gatshy’, thus it is no surprise that designing is definitely in the pipeline for her for 2014.
She tells NAW: “For 2014, I would like to design a staple collection for Botswana which shows the essence of being an African and a Motswana. My work is inspired by a vision I have for Africa and Africans. I seek to empower my community about everything there is to know about their history, habitat, fashion and culture and art of their lives through fashion.”
Tsholo cites acclaimed African fashion designers such as Nigeria’s Maki Oh, South Africa’s David Tlale and Palesa Mukubung Mantsho, and Tanzania’s Mustafa Hassanali as among her favourites. With such laudable inspirations, this style and fashion queen truly has her work anchored on solid ground. Her own brand will be awaited with high anticipation. On her behalf, we say 2014, bring it on!