art, design

body of work: laduma ngxokolo

Graeme Wyllie

Knitwear guru and founder of MaXhosa, Laduma Ngxokolo uses all his senses to create his pieces – including his gorgeous new rug collection. Add to that, his new pop-up boutique opened in Mall of Africa last night, along with the MaXhosa website that's made the move to the brand new .africa domain. A true chronicle of the evolution of MaXhosa, as its cemented itself as Africa’s lifestyle brand.  

ALSO READ: Knit together: Introducing the new Laduma x Ikea rug


I tap my feet while I’m designing, clicking as I find the flow of the line. My work has a lot of linear patterns to create good rhythm, and so my feet dance all the time while I’m making them.


If I experience any doubt, I use my gut to gain some element of trust so that I can do what I do best. Sometimes you don’t have confidence in your abilities, and design is not always precise, so as an artist you need to work with a gut feeling to get it as right as possible.


My hands are my tools: I sense the texture of the work. I use them to measure without a ruler, to get a feel for the dimension and scale of a pattern I’m working on. I also use my hands to gauge the quality of what a person who is touching the knits will feel in the product.


To capture the spirit of what is really on my mind, I use my brain to think in an in-depth way. When I have something hovering in the back of my head, trying to find expression, I put my brain under pressure so the idea will pop up while I am busy.


Colour is so scientific, so dynamic; I love observing it. When someone sees colour, it elicits a certain mood and I try to interpret what I do physically to make sure that what I see is perceived in the same way by that individual.


Knitwear production is a noisy affair and all the processes and styles have a distinct sound. While I work, I listen to music, and the playlist helps me convey the mood of the season. As I created my recent collection, The Evolution of MaXhosa, I was inspired by ‘Phila’ from Indwe’s album, which became the show’s soundtrack.


Certain things carry different kinds of smells – for instance, to me, every season’s theme has a particular scent. For every collection that I create, I pay attention to my senses, and smelling is the one I consult to get a sense that what I’m doing feels and looks unique.


I use my mouth to interpret a collection’s theme to the whole team so that we can capture the mood and understand what we’re about each season.

Visit MAXHOSA BY LADUMA/shop 1192, lower level (closest to parkade C, level 3) in the Mall of Africa. For the new website visit