What if I personally, by the power vested in me, told you that you are Royalty, yes a Queen or King. They did say we are what we believe ourselves to be right!?
How would you best describe African Royalty? What is African Royalty to you?
Africa is widely and mostly associated with black people by folks that come from other continents. They also believe that we walk amongst lions and elephants, and although that would be a pretty dope concept of life, that isn’t the case. I mean, imagine if one could walk next to a lion with no fear that they may become a snack. However, that is not the case. Firstly! Africa is a continent that is comprised of 54 countries that have their own cultures and traditions. Secondly there is more to Africa than just ‘Mandela’ people just need to educate themselves. We have great stories and very interesting cultures for them.
I needed to get that out of the way, here goes.
So, my partner put out a new t-shirt design last year with ‘African Royalty’ boldly emblazoned on the front of the white t-shirt, I loved the shirts at first glimpse when they arrived and still very much enjoy wearing the t-shirt… well in summer that is. Then, we faced minor unexpected encounters when making sales, people would ask about the thought behind the design. I personally just liked the t-shirt and what it’s portraying, but never knew how to interpret that to another person, especially if they’re not a person of colour. The word ‘African’ on its own resonates mostly with black people, but here we are, adamant to sell this t-shirt to anyone from anywhere, literally!
I turn to him when the crowd had died down, and I ask him “What do we say? Who is entitled to African Royalty? How do we get a non-black person to wear this shirt comfortably?” Now, imagine how I really want this t-shirt for everyone that finds it interesting, but also how do we get them to buy into it without discomfort? He says “Anyone can be royalty in Africa, we are creating a mindset that anyone that sees themselves fit for a King/Queen must go ahead and embrace that. Without being ignorant to the original monarchies and royals of blood, we just encouraging individuals to think highly of themselves.” So this man, so calmly knew exactly what he was doing when he was designing this shirt, and it made absolute sense, that sense that gives a warm fuzzy feeling. We spoke further about the concept and I understood that, its really just a small culture that he foresees for individuals. He further says, the concept is for each person that purchases the t-shirt to interrupt it how they see fits.
Africa can be embraced by everyone and that, I believe in my heart, people that have come to Africa and have experienced its warm love and richness can wear this t-shirt, for they have experienced African Royalty in one way or another. Even if we just crowned the entire African country as royalty and not just monarchies and people of royal blood, Africa would still be a very fit to the title. African Royalty would be its riches and diverse cultures and the warmth it gives to people that come to see and experience her.
So whether it’s as a souvenir of sentimental value or just another white tee to add to your collection, the ‘African Royalty’ t-shirt belongs to anyone that believes it in their heart that they have a connection with Africa.
Enjoy the styling we did for Rural Love Classics to re-launch the t-shirt that has sold out in many sizes, maybe you can purchase one too.
Images by Victor Dlamini and Katlego Mogadima