Khayelitsha-born Mzukisi Mbane designs the Springboks' change jersey

Khayelitsha-born Mzukisi Mbane will be beaming with pride when the jersey he designed for the Springboks is worn by the Rugby World Cup winners this November.


JOHANNESBURG - An up-and-coming designer will finally see the fruits of his toil when the Springboks embark on their Great Britain tour in November. The rugby national team will, for the first time, wear a jersey conceptualised by Khayelitsha-born designer Mzukisi Mbane.

It was meant to be unveiled for the first time in 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world and the Springbok's season ended abruptly while Mbane's masterpiece had to be put on hold.

He worked on the design with the Springboks' technical partner ASICS, and SA Rugby. It is anchored in the traditional white of the national team's alternate jersey but features Mbane’s signature patterning. The jersey will now be worn during the on-field warm-up before each of the forthcoming three Tests.

CEO of SA Rugby Jurie Roux said it was a breath of fresh air.

“Our alternate jersey is traditionally plain white but when ASICS suggested using a young South African designer to give it a 21st century twist, we welcomed the idea.

“Jersey design and technology is unrecognisable from what it was even 20 years ago and our rarely-seen alternate jersey gives us the chance to explore new thinking," he further said.

Mbane's design, which will cost the consumer just R1,000, also impressed Barry Mellis, the general manager of ASICS SA.

“The design is striking and has provoked plenty of comment, but overall, we’ve had really good feedback."

Mbane is the founder and creative engine driving the label, Swagger Diariez. He previously told Eyewitness News he attributed his design skills to his family.

“I come from a background of fashion lovers. My grandma used to love clothes and she would buy clothes and pack it under the mattress... there was just (her) clothing everywhere. My mom taught me how to use the sewing machine. The first item that I made was a crop top for my niece in 2011 because that was the 'in thing' at the time. I started exploring from then on."

The world will finally see his design on Saturday before the Springbok's Test against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. It will reappear again before crucial encounters against Scotland and England the following Saturdays.