By Nathaniel Gondo
Regardless of the insistent Western influence prevalent in Zimbabwean popular culture, creatives continue to take inspiration from our indigenous identity, our history and the works of our ancestors. Great Zimbabwe, Khami and Rozvi, the flame lily and our rich and diverse flora and fauna form a core part of our identity, and inspire pride within us all. This pride is the foundation of Pfeka, an activewear brand dedicated to preserving and celebrating the diverse cultures and narratives of Africa through its unique and stylish designs.
Pfeka is a dynamic and eco-conscious Zimbabwean clothing brand that embodies the essence of sustainable, slow fashion while infusing a unique African-inspired elegance and quality into every piece. Pfeka Managing Director, Eglet Mtengwa Nyabvure says, “Our brand is a harmonious blend of traditional African prints and vibrant patterns seamlessly integrated into everyday clothing, creating a distinctive fusion of cultural richness and contemporary style.”
The brand dabbles in contemporary fashion, but it is through sports and activewear that they have managed to make an impact. They infuse African prints and traditional motifs into cutting edge sportswear, adding a unique storytelling dimension to active lifestyles.
From gym sessions to outdoor adventures, Pfeka’s activewear combines functionality and fashion, ensuring you look and feel your best during any physical activity. The unique fabric prints are the standout feature of Pfeka, with pieces ranging from satin to cotton to chiffon. They even have their own patented print called the Masvingo Fabric Print, inspired by Great Zimbabwe.
The name itself foreshadows the brand’s vision. Pfeka is a Shona word that means ‘wear,’ a fundamental concept in fashion. In the context of the brand though, there is a commitment to preserving and celebrating the diverse cultures and stories of Africa. The brand is dedicated to telling the stories of Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole through its designs.
“In choosing the name ‘Pfeka’, we have laid the foundation for a brand that goes beyond fashion. It’s a vehicle for sharing the authentic stories of Africa with the world,” alludes Nyabvure.
She adds that Pfeka’s primary objective is about paying homage to the motherland whilst being unapologetically Zimbabwean, hence the brand’s name. “Our commitment to preserving African heritage, representing Zimbabwe proudly, and making a global impact that drives us forward. Pfeka is more than a name, it’s a statement of our mission and a symbol of our dedication to bringing the true essence of Africa to the forefront of the fashion industry,” explains Nyabvure.
Pfeka designs are inspired by the remarkable heritage of our country, particularly the iconic Great Zimbabwe. The choice of stone motifs in their designs is a homage to the rich history and cultural significance of this architectural marvel.
“The name ‘Zimbabwe’ itself, meaning ‘house of stone,’ serves as a constant source of inspiration for us. It encapsulates the essence of our brand, representing the strength, resilience, and enduring spirit of Zimbabwe and its people. By incorporating elements of stone and Great Zimbabwe into our designs, we aim to celebrate this heritage and share these powerful stories with the world. It’s a way for us to pay tribute to our roots and contribute to the preservation and promotion of Zimbabwean culture and history through our creative work,” expounds Nyabvure.
The inspiration for Pfeka might be local, but it’s essentially a global phenomenon that aims to make its mark on the international market and connect with people worldwide through its authentic designs. The brand has made a name for itself in the world of sportswear, catering to professional athletes and sports enthusiasts with high-quality, stylish attire designed to enhance performance and reflect team spirit. They have a Zimbabwean store, a walk in shop in the Netherlands, and an online store that can deliver to anywhere in the world.
As an extension of their local focus but international appeal mantra, Pfeka has clothed Zimbabwe’s national teams across different sporting disciplines, nothing short of an honour for Nyabvure and the Pfeka team. They have clothed the netball teams that is the Senior Netball team (Gems) and the Under 19s, the National Tennis team for the Davis Cup, Hockey U21 team, Heritage School Hockey Team, Team Zimbabwe UK Soccer Team and the Lock Brothers – Benjamin and Courtney.
Pfeka considers themselves as ambassadors of Zimbabwean heritage, just through clothing. Therefore, dressing fellow countrymen as they represent Zimbabwe in international tournaments is more of national duty than a business decision. The joyful Nyabvure says, “Clothing national teams is not just a business for us, it’s a passion and a way to make a positive impact on Zimbabwean sports and culture. We take pride in our work and look forward to continuing our journey of dressing champions and telling Zimbabwean stories through our clothing.”
Nyabvure confirmed the brand influence in international community is because of the space they found and filled as a brand has people in Zimbabwe and in the diaspora. “We are blessed to have found the link between home and the international community which stems mainly because the team consists of people in and outside of Zimbabwe.”
Only the sky is the limit for Pfeka, as they are already planning for the future. “Pfeka’s five-year plan is comprehensive, encompassing sustainability, support for the local textile industry, strategic partnerships, diversification, and the celebration of African culture. These goals collectively aim to position Pfeka as a sustainable and culturally rich brand that serves a global audience,” highlights Nyabvure.
Nyabvure’s foresight and leadership is evident, and Zimbabwe is slowly taking notice. The Pfeka MD was recently nominated for the 2023 African Influencers Award in the ‘Game Changers of the Year’ category, and her excitement was palpable. She describes the nomination as motivation. “Being nominated is a clear nod that we are doing great, and it is truly an encouraging feeling. We are immensely grateful to be recognized for our hard work, and it gives us the wings and fuel to continue pushing forward and striving to do even better. It’s a validation of our efforts and serves as motivation to keep excelling in our endeavors,” beams Nyabvure.