Katungulu Mwendwa, 31

Fashion Designer

My Story,

The fashion priestess

Katungulu is among Africa’s most sought-after fashion designers.

Her work has graced high-profile fashion events across the world, including the New York Fashion Week.

Hers is a bold and authentic style that is hard not to tell in a crowd.

Her company, Katush, she says, is an everyday leisure and lifestyle brand that designs and makes quality and versatile clothing for both men and women.

"My plan is to evolve while remaining true to the African culture"

Katungulu, who is obsessed with plants and water, knew from a young age that she wanted a career in the arts.

“I love my work, the people around me and basically my life. It is exciting, scary, unpredictable, beautiful, challenging and a tonne of fun,” says the 31-year-old.

Katungulu aspires to have her own lifestyle brand where she will be sourcing, designing and making accessories and working with various peoples from across the continent to make and sell beautiful items that celebrate the various cultures and communities in Africa.

“My plan is to evolve while remaining true to the African culture,” she says, while explaining why her fashion line borrows heavily from traditional royal African designs.

She identifies her family as the people who keep her spirits up.

“In addition, Dr Jacinta Muteshi-Strachan, Mark Stephenson and Yonas Maru are three people who have excelled in their various fields, and who I often speak to about my work.

“This vulnerability is not always interesting, and I have learnt to be open about the challenges I am facing with those who would understand,” she says.

Dr Muteshi-Strachan is a renowned expert in gender equality, women’s rights and reproductive health, Mark is the CEO of Sandstorm Kenya, a classic leather bag and accessories brand, and Yonas is the managing director of Bandwidth Cloud Services Africa, a wholesale telecommunications infrastructure provider.

—Annie Njanja