YLA May 2024 Edition

By Ntokozo Maseko

The 25th of this month marks 61 years since the founding of the Organisation of AfricanUnity (OAU), a pan-African manifesto for a united and free continent, which is commemorated on Africa Day each year. YourLuxury Africa’s conversation thread on luxury and the continent only highlights that we’re reclaiming our place as a source of material and immaterial contributions towards the two-hundred-billion-dollar global luxury industry. This, while staying energised to help close the 500-year gap that shifted many African countries out of the centre of their own creative and economic locus.

In this issue, with Vania Leles – the world’s first Black, African, female high jewellery brand owner – on the cover, we double click on Africa’s homecoming in the luxury sector. Bringing her African voice to the exclusive world of high jewellery, the founder of London-based VANLELES has many interpretations of the concept of home. Born in Guinea-Bissau, she briefly lived in Senegal in the ’80s before moving to Portugal for her formal education. She then went to London where she was scouted as a model, leading to moves to Paris and New York, before finally settling back in London. She’s called Gra Diamonds, De Beers, and Sotheby’s her professional homes, but now has her own atelier on London’s Bond Street. Vania talks to us about heritage as the primary memory deposit from which she draws inspiration, as well as her complex quest for ethical sourcing and redirecting wealth back to the African regions where precious materials are sourced.

We also zoom in on the physical concept of home by celebrating the extraordinary spaces our featured interviewees occupy and beautify. Rich Mnisi talks to us about his new body of work in furniture design on view at Cape Town’s Southern Guild Gallery until the end of May, while design maven Lezanne Viviers of Viviers Studio welcomes us into her mid-century Johannesburg home.

Ntokozo Maseko


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