Headwraps are a key part of African culture. These colourful crowns hold immense significance during various social occasions like weddings, church gatherings, and other important social outings. The more prestigious the event, the larger and more elaborate the headwrap.

Material Culture is inspired by this rich cultural heritage, one Thandiwe observed daily as her mother skilfully manipulated rolls of fabric into towering masterpieces in preparation for her weekly church attendance. No two headwraps are ever the same– they are draped for a transient moment and then gone as soon as they are taken off at the end of the day; and even if the same fabric, pins and method are repeated there will always be something new in the final drape.

This body of work serves as a profound homage to the artistry of this beauty practise while inviting contemplation on the self-empowering nature of this ritual. Every time a woman puts on a headwrap, she adorns herself with the African equivalent of a regal coronet, the humble fabric transcends its material form, becoming an exquisite work of art that graces her head like the crown of a queen.

  • In Full Bloom
  • Not My Mothers Headdress
  • Rembeka
  • Sunday Best
  • Maridadi
  • Madam President