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Heritage Day is a big deal in South Africa. It reminds us of where we come from and the traditions of our forefathers.
This day symbolises unity and diversity among South Africans who speak different languages, practise various traditions, wear unique clothes and eat various foods that form a beautiful rainbow nation.
South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee tells us what Heritage Day means to him as a South African.
This Heritage Day (September 24), the multi-award-winning designer partnered with Ricoffy to design a limited-edition bucket hat with Mzansi slang written all over it.
“I wanted a bucket hat that celebrates South Africanness. I started with the print by creating a conversation piece. The print originated from the South African couture collection that I showcased last year. I wanted to create something that you can wear in your head that everybody identifies with in a very original way,” said Coetzee.
Asked about what this special day means to him, he said: “Heritage means gratitude to me. I think I’m so proud of where I’ve come. I’m so proud of where the country has come, what we have achieved so far and all the diversity that we have in this country. I love that I can love who I want. It’s being to celebrate who I am as a person, and let’s celebrate each other as people and come together with that South African love.”
Coetzee, who also has a bursary programme for aspiring designers, has dressed many A-listers, including Kelly Rowland, Kristen Cavallari, Kourtney Kardashian, Bonang Matheba, Rolene Strauss, and Minnie Dlamini. He says the passion he has for his craft has kept him on top of his game.
“What has kept me on top of my mind as a designer is pushing the boundaries and the passion and drive.
“I’m always striving to be better at my craft, and that has allowed me to be on the shopping list of a lot of South African and international superstars.
“And I think that what has been the defining factor is that I am self-motivated, and I get up and do it. I follow my dreams, not just keep it in the dreaming stage, but follow it through the doing stage. I think that’s the perseverance that’s constantly motivating yourself and offering something different.”
Coetzee revealed the limited edition bucket hat at the Nescafe Ricoffoy 50th birthday celebration held at the Hallmark House on September 23.