Shweshwekini owned by South African Occupational Therapist Refiloe Mapitso Thaisi, is a clothing brand inspired by the rich Basotho Culture from Lesotho. The brand was founded in 2017 and creates striking bold and colourful prints that resemble the Basotho Culture.
In creating the brand, Mapitso was inspired by her early childhood memories of her mother in shweshwe dresses, the Lesotho landscape and people who can be seen traveling along the Maluti escapement. The natural colours found in the designs are a reflection of much of the natural elements that make up Lesotho. The Shweshwekini Man or Woman is someone who is in touch with who they are, bold in mind and spirit, a traveler at heart and someone who always looks ahead for more life.
Born with a curious mind filled with creative imagination and the need to help people in daily life, Mapitso studied a BSc in Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town and later a Masters degree in Human Rights Law. However, Shweshwekini was a calling she could not simply ignore. It was during her Masters that she began thinking about a new path and journey that truly spoke to her and her roots, while also celebrating the Basotho Culture. Shweshwekini then became the vessel through which she could serve people, be creative, build an authentic African brand that would be accessible locally and internationally, while also celebrating her deep cultural roots.
Each ShweShweKini piece has a Sesotho name with a meaning attached to it and gives the brand deeper meaning and connection to its Basotho roots. Since the inception of the brand in 2017, the brand has continued to get recognition for its work in the fashion space.
Over the years, the brand has been featured on Top Billing, Foschini Magazine, Club Magazine, Elle Magazine, Glamour, Bona, The Sowetan, The Cape Argus and on Design Indaba. Mapitso has also received recognition for her work within the brand, such as the Foschini Sebenza Award in 2017, Design Indaba 40 Emerging Creatives Class of 2018, Top 3 Nominee in Santam Fairlady Women of The Future Awards in the Rising Star Category in 2018, Mail & Guardian Women Changing South Africa in the Entrepreneur Category.
Operating from Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Free State, the brand hopes to enable and uplift communities where it based, by working with talents across South Africa to bring the brand vision alive.
Our motto is simple "In Touch, Moving Forward." We aim to be in touch with where we find ourselves and remain grounded, whilst moving to greater and newer heights.