RWANDA’S NYAMBO MASAMARA TELLS HIS STORY IN VIVID FASHION
Designer Nyambo MasaMara speaks a language of colour, pattern and art.
The art and design scene of Cape Town is worlds away from the reality that Nyambo MasaMara was born into in nineties Rwanda. Since arriving here aged twelve, he’s gone on to become a ground-breaking fashion designer and artist, expressing his stories in vivid pattern and colour.
Nyambo shares that MasaMara means “Something from nothing,” and that he chose the name MasaMara because the brand was born out of nothing-more than willpower and passion.
Upon meeting the designer, you’re greeted with an array of colour and brilliant prints, all of which are part of his signature design. Just as striking is his hair, a hallmark of his origins that reflects the horns of Rwanda’s royal cows.
Nyambo started out in finance, but fashion was his calling so after weekends spent as a tailor’s apprentice, he made his move.
We chat through his design process, which includes walks in the city and envisioning the end result.
“When I’m in my studio sketching, it’s always very spiritual. It’s always emotional. This time and space allows me to tap into inner thoughts that most people don’t see or know, because all my work comes from the experience. This is the space that I take everything in, allow it to recycle energy and share it to the world.” says Nyambo.
As his fashion career took off, lockdown grounded him but it only turned him to explore another direction – as an artist.
In a quest to continue sharing his known experiences and tell his story, Nyambo started creating imagery and sculptures. His medium, discarded objects and off-cut material.
His current body of work is called “Beyond Borders” and is being showcased at Deepest Darkest, a contemporary art gallery in De Waterkant, Cape Town.
“This body of work is inspired by the travelling spirit, traversing space and time, carrying information from the past to the present, and preparing for the future,” explains the designer.
Nyambo’s debut exhibit has been welcomed as resoundingly as his fashion was just over two years ago. A vivid, confident, original voice just when we needed one.