21 Icons is a visual celebration of the lives of men and women who have shaped the world around them for the better. Inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, it tells the stories of people who have continued his legacy – whose lives have made the world a better place.
Laduma Ngxokolo “The Explorer” is photographed wearing his garments while seated on a white horse in the middle of Long Street in Cape Town. Playing on the idea of a rural boy delivering his wares to the city, the portrait delivers a striking blend of modern and traditional, and speaks to a generation navigating the combination of both.
Ngxokolo has been selected for 21 ICONS South Africa Season III for using traditional Xhosa beadwork motifs and patterns, to establish MaXhosa that celebrates the rich heritage of the Xhosa culture through providing traditional clothing for Xhosa initiation rituals. MaXhosa by Laduma is proudly knitted in South Africa with South African mohair and merino wool. Although producing locally has its challenges, Laduma says he improvises where necessary. “Producing locally isn’t as easy as producing offshore, for instance. The material is more expensive and suppliers don’t offer the best. Knowing I am contributing towards growing jobs and the economy makes it worth my while.”