ZURI and IMANI, changing the narrative of African print

ZURI and IMANI is a textile and surface design studio specialising in creating original and exclusive pattern designs used on textile, leather, paper, wood and ceramic surfaces, for the fashion, interior and paper goods industries. They also work on bespoke commissions, collaborations, and licensing.

BMA | 1 zuri

Hailing from Nigeria, textile designer and entrepreneur, Joy Ezeka, founded ZURI and IMANI in 2016 after realising that most of the “African print” designs are not produced in Africa or by Africans. Operating from her humble home design studio in Gardens, Cape Town, Joy has been on a mission to change the narrative of the African print ever since.

Joy weaves modern stories through her designs, inspired by Africa’s narratives made up of its culture, history, and landmarks to create authentic Africanity content designs- all while keeping current design trends in mind. Despite the numerous challenges that Joy has encountered growing ZURI and IMANI from the ground up, she shares that “every new design was a reminder for me to rise unafraid”.

In November 2021, ZURI and IMANI caught the attention of a panel of lead clothing & textile firms while pitching their value proposition at the Dragons’ Den, part of the Cape Clothing & Textile Cluster’s Small Business Accelerator programme. ZURI and IMANI was awarded “Most Promising/Innovative Business” and R15,000 prize money.

BMA | 2 zuri

ZURI and IMANI has subsequently received a letter of intent (LOI) from Cape Union Mart for a designer collaboration on ladieswear, accessories and homeware, and a LOI from Pepkor for a designer collaboration of a top-end range of homeware product is in the pipeline.

“For your hard work to be seen and acknowledged is one of the best things that can happen to an entrepreneur!” – Joy Ezeka, Founder of ZURI and IMANI.

Since joining the Cape Clothing & Textile Cluster’s Small Business Accelerator programme, ZURI and IMANI has completed the cluster’s benchmarking study, received business case development mentorship and skills training opportunities through the cluster’s Emerging Leader development programme.

Robyn-Leigh Van Laren