Watching Makeke African dancers in action, images of Shaka Zulu rush to the fore for they were dressed just like the great warrior is depicted in illustrations.
The group emerged from their changing rooms wearing awesome, traditional pre-colonial era dress made of skins, tree barks and other animal remains.
This is the group steered by Jocktan Makeke, an emerging fashion designer and costume artist intent on portraying authentic African lifestyles.
In the past four years, they have exhibited their fashions in 30 countries, including France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Nigeria and Kenya.
Jocktan’s designs are inspired by wild animals, nature, and by reimagining pre-colonial African culture and history. In his work, he uses hides, horns, hooves and bones as well as tree bark, leaves and wild flowers.
Jocktan’s interest in the arts began in his childhood; he was fascinated with painting, drawing and fashion design, but it wasn’t until adulthood in 2009 that he dived into the fashion world and enrolled in the University of Dodoma in Tanzania.
He has participated in several fashion events including the East Africa Fashion Week in Nairobi, Kigali Fashion Night, Bongo Style Belgium (2016), Marahaba Fashion events in Tanzania, among other classic cultural performances.
Makeke Afrika artistes perform their dances and fashion shows at Nafasi Art Space in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam.
The two-acre Nafasi Art Space was founded in 2008 by a small group of Tanzanian Artists with the aim of improving access to and widening participation in the visual arts in Tanzania.
Nafasi hosts over 50 artists, 37 studios, and several exhibition spaces, offering regular programmes including training and workshops, art talks, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and public art fairs. Makeke Afrika has received several awards through their occasional shows and performance.
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