Let’s talk about Miss Namibia’s national costume, seriously

By Rosalia David

MISS Namibia 2019 Nadja Breytenbach sparked quite a fierce debate on social media after revealing her national costume last week, with fashion lovers questioning whether her outfit represents the diversity of the country or not.

I am definitely siding with those who feel like the national costume is nowhere close to ‘embracing the extreme beauty and diversity of Namibia’ and that there is no representation of any culture in it that we can relate to.

Not only does the outfit confuse me as to how exactly it’s an example of a national culture and pride, it also raises concern as to why certain event organisers seem to look down on local creatives, specifically designers.

This costume by an international designer certainly proves that the event organisers from such a renowned organization failed to recruit internal talent, which would have simultaneously introduced and promoted a local designer to the world.

I think many a local designer could have done a better job in creating a masterpiece, which is supposed to represent the country because, genuinely, they have more knowledge on what ‘Namibian  pride’ is all about, compared to an international designer who is not rooted in our own aesthetics.

I am not assuming that the designer of the costume had never seen a Namibian flag before, I am simply pointing out that the costume was supposed to be crafted by someone with a deeper and clearer understanding of Namibian culture, and how they would have loved to be represented.

It is indeed sad that the costume, which was designed by South African Mzukisi Mbane, was not something we expected the day it was revealed, but it surely made up for the fashion tragedy by the amounts of jokes it generated.

Over the years, Miss Namibia’s national costumes have impressed us but this time around we could only wonder what went wrong. Some said it looks inspired by Chinese aesthetics, but the 2019 Miss Namibia national costume reminds me more of Indian culture and colours. The headpiece was said to ‘reflect the formidable and uniqueness of Africa’s wildlife’ but I have never seen animal horns that look like that.

Next time, dear Miss Namibia organisers, please follow the example of Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa who designed an amazing outfit for Miss South Africa 2019, which had a powerful message and immediately told us where she comes from, the very moment we laid our eyes on it.

Hers was a costume which incorporated love letters from men to South African women, in support of the #HeForShe campaign, which seeks to activate men in the struggle against gender-based violence, as part of the campaign for Miss South Africa 2019. Now that’s something to write home about.