A touch of Madiba, the Big Five and the protea for Team SA's Olympics kit
The creative talents of four young Durban designers were showcased on Thursday evening when the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) unveiled the apparel local athletes will be sporting at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
Nompumelelo Mjadu, Sandile Sikhakhane, Sipho Lushaba and Mbali Zulu, who were interviewed exclusively by the Sunday Times last week, drew their inspiration from the famous Madiba shirt and the Big Five for the opening ceremony kits athletes competing in the Olympics and Paralympics will wear.
It will be the first time the athletes will wear locally developed apparel at the Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremonies and on the podium
The IFP recently posed a parliamentary question to sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, raising the issue of whether, “in light of the outrage regarding the tracksuits worn by Team SA at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, his department intervened to ensure a similar mistake does not occur at the upcoming Olympics”.
Mthethwa responded in a written reply that his department had not intervened as it was an “administrative matter Sascoc is empowered to deal with”, and indicating that the body had secured sponsorship from Mr Price and was including local designers in the team.
Mr Price landed a four-year deal to supply Team SA’s apparel for major world events, including the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The designer foursome, who were part of the eThekwini municipality’s Durban Fashion Fair mentorship programme last year, had their moment in the spotlight when their designs were revealed at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
Sascoc president Barry Hendricks said: “It’s wonderful for Team SA to be able to showcase the incredible talent of these four young designers on the biggest sports stagel.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to put their work on the global map. Our Team SA athletes will wear the kit with pride and the way they look and dress will be eye-catching to the rest of the competing nations.”
Sascoc acting CEO Ravi Govender said: “The combination of home-grown brand Mr Price Sport and Veldskoen with our young and upcoming designers dressing Team SA tells our story like it should be told, and we are equipped, resourced and ready to take our nation to any global stage.”
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the use of local designers was a progressive stride for local fashion and the textile industry.
For the Games itself, Mr Price Sport will supply the technical apparel required for the multiple sporting events and the tracksuits worn on the podium after each event.
The Mr Price Sport team created a team kit graphic in the form of a large protea icon.
Mr Price Sport head of marketing Dylan Cherry said: “We agreed with Sascoc that our team needed a strong graphic icon visible on camera.
“As our athletes are captured on media platforms, our proudly South African protea will be recognised across the world.”