Fashion designer Thebe Magugu among top creatives earmarked for French programme

Renowned designer Thebe Magugu brings his fashion-forward playlist to life. Photo Supplied

Renowned designer Thebe Magugu brings his fashion-forward playlist to life. Photo Supplied

Published May 15, 2024


Internationally-acclaimed local designer, Thebe Magugu, is one of the top creatives from South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi who have made the cut of the Création Africa business incubation programme which seeks to fast-track the entrepreneurial journey of African creatives.

David Martinon, ambassador of France to South Africa, Lesotho, and Malawi, revealed that more than 700 entrepreneurs from these three countries showed interest in being part of the programme.

Création Africa is part of a continent-wide initiative launched in 2023 by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs focused on the cultural and creative industries in 16 African countries, as part of its renewed engagement to invest in entrepreneurship and creative industries on the continent.

Magugu, who was unveiled alongside 11 other creatives at a breakfast event held in Braamfontein on Tuesday, was ecstatic about the programme.

Speaking to The Star, the award-winning fashion designer said as an entrepreneur, there is always a need to improve one’s skills and business capabilities in order to cope with the growth of a business.

“As a fashion designer I need to improve myself and the skills I have and so being part of the programme will allow me to improve myself on the other aspects of my profession. I see this opportunity as being important in ensuring that each part of my business improves as my carer and business improves,” he said.

Another young creative who is thrilled to be part of the programme is Glorinah Khutso Mabaso - the Pretoria designer whose modern-day print designs derived from ancient African traditions have been celebrated across the country and beyond.

She said apart from funding and networking opportunities presented by the programme she looks forward to learning from other creatives on the programme.

“It is very difficult to be part of a programme that incorporates the creative industry because, there are a lot of business programmes and I have been part of many programmes for women but they were not specifically tailored to the creative and cultural industries. So, this one is more specific and so then, we are able to learn so much even from other creatives,” she said.

Other finalists include Cape Town-based designers, Viveka and Rucita Vassen of Ananta Design Studio, Giyani Mashimbye and Cassandra Twala, of Giyani Design from Johannesburg; Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba and Rafik Seleman of Kwacha Creative Studios (Malawi), among others.

Création Africa has been hailed as a ground-breaking initiative, made possible through an incubation programme to be delivered in partnership with the business development and incubation division of UVU Africa (UVU Accelerate) alongside the French public investment bank Bpifrance.

As the 12 entrepreneurs graduate from the initial stages and enter Création Africa’s incubation programme, Bpifrance will leverage its expertise to connect them with a global network of partners and investors to unlock investment opportunities to propel them forward.

Martinon congratulated the finalists for making this far into the programme saying: “Their success through a very competitive field is a testament to their talent, dedication and great potential. Business acceleration programmes in the cultural and creative industries, such as Création Africa, are crucial for nurturing creative talent and I am convinced that investment in ecosystems, skills development and innovation can drive productivity and competitiveness, leading to sustainable economic growth and job creation across our nations.“

The Star