Late April, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa for my dear friends' traditional Zulu wedding.
I met Luyanda here in LA before she and her hubs, Jerry, moved back to her childhood hometown of Johannesburg, SA last fall. Luyanda and I met on a women's Facebook group when she was looking for a photographer and I was looking for a model. We became instant friends and not only that, we worked on a few projects together. Among them, I shot the lookbook and catalog for her clothing line, Revolt and I hired her to model for the campaign for the launch of Zenzee shoes, designed by another good friend, Sharon. Luyanda is one of the funniest, strongest, most badass women I've known. When she told me about the wedding in South Africa and she asked me to be a bridesmaid, we did all the things we could to plan and prep for my first trip to SA to be such a special part of their day.
Luyanda is Zulu and her husband is Mexican-American. Lu's parents wanted them to have a traditional wedding in the village where they have a family farm, about 4 hours from Joberg. The wedding was absolutely incredible. The whole village came to the 4 hour ceremony which filled with dancing, singing and a presentation of gifts. At the reception, Lu's parents (founders and owners of Native Rhythms record label) fed every single person who was in attendance, from the village guests to the other wedding guests. After the wedding, everyone of all ages danced to the sounds of Kendrick Lamar and South African gqom music. It was a day I will never ever forget.
Scroll through above for pictures from the wedding <3
We spent the days before and after the wedding exploring Johannesberg and Soweto. I stayed in Maboneng, a recently revived area that now draws young people and artists. The fashion in Joberg was off the hook! I saw a lot of very fashion forward threads mixed with vintage and dandy vibes alongside beautiful local fabrics. It definitely inspired me to start looking for more color in my very dark-colored wardrobe. And yes, I recognize the irony that I'm talking about all the color and these photos are all in black & white. Ha!
Scroll through above for fashion pics from Maboneng <3
Lu and Jerry brought his family and me (also in town from LA), to the Hector Pieterson Museum, which documented the Soweto uprising in 1976. It was a beautiful and sobering tribute. We later went to Nelson Mandela's home, now also a museum, which was incredible and inspiring as well. Human rights are still a huge issue in South Africa as racism is very rampant. Visiting both museums was a huge reminder that we still have so much work to do in our humanity and compassion for each other, as well as continuing to stand up for all of our rights.
Joberg is an incredible city. I absolutely loved it. I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of my hosts, the people I spoke with on the streets, the beauty, the LIFE that is lived wholeheartedly, despite many challenges. The food, fashion and music were sublime. It was an inspiration and will continue to be so for the rest of my life. I'm ready for my next trip back!