With 20 years’ experience as a general practitioner,leading the Motsepe Family Foundation, having served on the Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard
Kennedy School and her work as the former president of the Cancer Association of SA, the philanthropistcum-entrepreneur says Africa is ripe for the international,multibillion-dollar fashion industry.
The founder and executive chairwoman of African Fashion International (AFI) is more than a woman with an enviable flair for fashion. Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe is a formidable business woman who has found an enjoyable and manageable way to entwine her passions for gender equality, health, education and entrepreneurship with her work in the creative industry.
In an effort to boost the fashion industry in SA and on the continent at large, she wanted to “establish a company that would actively engage in marketing and retailing African designed apparel, accessories and leather goods”. AFI endorses African fashion designers by providing them with a marketing platform to showcase their creative works while also sponsoring and mentoring emerging designers in order to create profitable and sustainable businesses.
AFI operates on two key pillars: AFI Fashion Week in Joburg and Cape Town (sponsored by Mercedes-Benz SA) and the fashion luxury and lifestyle division, which includes AFI Prive and the talent development platform – AFI Fastrack.
“My interest in fashion as a business is in creative and innovative marketing and retail as well as the development of young design talent that can create a product that is innovative, authentic, sellable and globally relevant. Commercial viability is key,” she says.
“The industry has gone global and AFI’s vision is to be the best company in fashion and lifestyle brands from Africa. I am interested in fashion and style in a commercial sense but also for its beauty and the pleasure of appreciating something conceptualised by human brains and translated into beautiful clothing by human hands like art. Describing her own style aesthetic as “classic
elegant”, she says: “I personally like to mix things up from all places that I visit, but I find African fashion very interesting in its boldness, diversity and
Her charming dress from David Tlale’s latest Autumn/Winter collection is beautifully accessorised with a brooch, “a gift from a friend from India”. The look is finished off with black suede stilettos.
Favourite restaurant? The Test Kitchen in Cape town, Qunu at The Saxon in Joburg. Favourite cities: Cape Town and Paris. Favourite books: I am one of those people who reads many books at the same time. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Americanah and Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn. Favourite style icons: Many. Locally, my mother, Mrs Tambo; Miriam Makeba.
Globally: Dorothy Dandridge, Coco Chanel, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to name a few.