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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Luju Festival to showcase African Fashion Folktales

The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival, taking place in Eswatini on the 4th and 5th of August 2023, is a lavish two-day feast of music, fashion, entertainment, culinary exploits, showcases, with a focus on sustainable, authentic, and stylish fashion.

A unique and sophisticated African-vintage styled celebration of the local, the wholesome, the creative, and the delicious, the spirit of this festival is encapsulated in the Luju ethos of “A Return to the African Future”, which celebrates Africa’s natural bounty, beauty and style, from the past to the present and onwards to the future. It’s a journey of the senses, a re-imagining of our heritage, and a preview of the design innovations of tomorrow.

Alongside the already announced diverse music line-up and extensive culinary programme, Luju 2023 will celebrate the transformative power of design, and using fashion to shape future generations. This year’s theme, African Fashion Folktales, focuses on craft mastery, with sustainable materials that become mediums for the reclaiming of ancestral stories. Through interweaving these tales of our past, we re-imagine our future.

Fashion and design elements permeate the festival, coming together in complementary grouplings of sensory experiences, supported by the Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival’s focus on promoting small businesses, the creative economy, arts development and African culture.

This year, the Standard Bank Luju Fashion Runway show will feature Zimbabwean, Swati, and Mozambican creatives. From veterans of African print to emerging local talent, festivalgoers are invited to come together to celebrate a fashion renaissance as Southern African and Eswatini designers redefine the regional fashion scene, supported by art collectives Fabrik Party from Zimbabwe and Mozambique’s AZGO Bazaar.

To bring to life the core theme aspects of craft, sustainability and ancestry, the Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival will be facilitating collaborations between local fashion designers and craft brands. This collaborative workshop will stimulate the creative process to produce inspiring and unique work and encourage the use of local and traditional craft techniques in Eswatini’s bespoke fashion sector.

The Design and Craft creatives will be tasked with creating a capsule collection to be presented as part of the Standard Bank Luju Fashion Runway on the Mastercard Stage. Additionally, together with local stylists, hair artists and models, the collective will create a pop-up fashion performance to be exhibited periodically in the Fashion Café Marketplace.

The Fashion Café Marketplace is a hive of creative abundance, selling diverse African fashion, accessories as well as skin and hair care products. Festivalgoers can find a wide range of items inspired by African culture and heritage, including vibrant clothing, unique jewelry, and nourishing skincare products. Whether festivalgoers are looking to add some bold statement pieces to their look or want to incorporate natural, plant-based ingredients into their skincare routine, this marketplace has something for everyone. Festivalgoers can shop with confidence, knowing that they are supporting small independent businesses and promoting the beauty of African craftsmanship.

This space will also provide the first market showcase for emerging local fashion and food brands under the Artisanal Incubator Programme for 10 MSMEs, in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) Alliance for Action Programme, funded by the European Union. These “Future Icons” are the up-and-coming brands to watch!

The Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival is an aspirational event to dress up for. So, what to wear? Iconic hand-crafted accessories, hair artistry and wraps or hats are in. Inspiration points include fashion pieces that tell a story of family and heritage, perhaps made using a traditional hand-process passed down over generations, or from a local material put together in a new way. Festivalgoers can create their own modern stories by mixing African prints and vintage pieces with sustainable fabrics (natural fibres, crafted, recycled).

Don’t miss out on this fabulous showcase of African innovation and design! Get tickets now from outlets in Eswatini, at Standard Bank Eswatini in Corporate Place, Mbabane, and Standard Bank branches in Ezulwini (Gables) and Manzini, as well as Dala Spaces at Malandela’s Lifestyle in Malkerns. Online tickets may be purchased via the Luju Festival website:

Further artist and programme announcements will follow soon, so BEE sure to keep up with the LUJU BUZZ on social media: Standard Bank Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival on Facebook and YouTube, @luju_festival on Instagram and @lujufestival on Twitter!