Fashion hits & misses from SA's star-studded 'Black Panther' premiere

19 February 2018 - 13:57 By Paula Andropoulos
Babes Wodumo.
Babes Wodumo.
Image: John Liebenberg

South Africans were counting down the days until Marvel’s Pan-African-inspired blockbuster hit our cinemas, and, this past weekend, the stars finally descended on Monte Casino for the local premiere of Black Panther.

Dressing appropriately for this movie is tricky, as it entails navigating a fine line between appropriative, campy stereotypes, on the one hand, and a sense of contemporary African regality, on the other.

Here’s our breakdown of the best and worst looks on the blue carpet:  



We’re on the fence about Babes Wodumo’s distracting ensemble.

There's something cool and contemporary about the application of beadwork on her dress; and the confusion of colours has an appealingly futuristic undertone, especially in conjunction with the playful styling of her hair and make-up.

That said, there is also something off about the silhouette of this dress — the flared skirt falls strangely — and it’s hard to absorb the profusion of prints, ideas and accents encompassed here.


The 5FM DJ’s long, red train was a clever nod to the idea of Pan-African royalty, but it’s also a little evocative of flamenco dancer's outfit, particularly because of the short skirt in the front.

The flounces on the long train make it look cumbersome and awkward; it’s a good idea, but the execution betrays how many concepts this outfit is trying to incorporate simultaneously, to its detriment.

LeAnne Dlamini.
LeAnne Dlamini.
Image: John Liebenberg


The South African singer, MC, and social media influencer would look beautiful in a hessian sack, and there’s nothing visually unpalatable about her Arabics ‘kimono’, in and of itself. But there’s certainly something peculiar and incongruous about her choice of jeans here – and while we appreciate that she might’ve been going for a subtle, contemporary take on African attire, there’s really nothing regal about blue denim.

From left: Lupita Nyong'o, John Kani, Danai Gurira and Connie Chiume.
From left: Lupita Nyong'o, John Kani, Danai Gurira and Connie Chiume.
Image: John Liebenberg



The actress and playwright looked every bit the part of a Wakandan warrior, in a dress that successfully balanced out the drama of a high, beaded collar with a simple, unpretentious form.

Gurira’s sparse selection of striking jewelry managed to hint at the theme, without bludgeoning it to death.


John Kani is a national treasure, and his quintessentially Xhosa look was a masterfully-styled expression of his status as such.

He looked handsome and stately — and he proved adept at holding his own, surrounded by astonishingly beautiful women.


Actress and television presenter Thembisa Mdoda left us breathless: although her outfit is rich in details and accessories, the crop top conveys a sense of modernity to a classic monotone Xhosa look. She really did look like a latter-day African monarch.