HEM MATSI – changing the face of Namibian fashion

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Flamingo provides background information on the latest and greatest exhibitions, productions and events on the visual and performing arts scene in Namibia

 HEM MATSI – changing the face of Namibian fashion

One of the most successful young fashion designers in the Namibian fashion industry is Hem Matsi, who was born in 1983 in Oshakati, northern Namibia. While studying Medical Technology at the Cape Tech in South Africa, Hem made her first fashion outfit because she couldn’t afford the designer clothes worn by some of her friends. This motivated her to do an about turn and study fashion design, and she has never looked back since.

Hem returned to Namibia to pursue a career in fashion designing seven years ago, and has established herself as an extraordinary talent in the industry. She is inspired by rich fabrics, embraces colour and diversity, and is influenced by her African roots as well as by European culture.

She soon developed her popular clothing range Hemline, and now owns four branches – Hemline Fashions, Hemline Hair, which also sells lace wigs and Brazilian hair extensions, Hemline Corporate, and the Hemliner mobile shop.

Working with other Namibian fashion designers, she held catwalk shows across the country, soon making a name for herself. Today her clients include local celebrities, film stars, and musicians from Gal Level, Gazza and The Dogg, and several government officials. She even designed a suit for the current Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, for his 75th birthday.

Hem uses her God-given talent to support several charitable organisations, such as the Victim 2 Survivors, which provides support to women from disadvantaged backgrounds, and to victims of domestic abuse and rape.

Hem is undoubtedly the Namibian fashion designer to watch!

Text and photographs (?) Zenao Angula

Hem’s designs are available in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa:

Namibia: +264 81 149 7433

Botswana: +26 77 170 6599

South Africa: +27 72 757 1284

Email: ladyhem@gmail.com


The film
An urban story, set in Windhoek, Love Is… follows the path of two young lovers who are forced to confront themselves and decide what their future needs and wants really are. Their relationship is put into jeopardy when the woman decides she wants to leave town to follow her dreams. Her boyfriend is hurt, but he is ultimately challenged to rethink his own life and establish whether he is following his own dreams or simply letting life pass him by. Both come to realise and appreciate their love for each other.

The director

The film was directed by Perivi John Katjavivi and produced by his company, Old Location Film Production, and Obed Emvula. Love is… was the first Namibian film to be screened at the Ster Kinekor Cinema complex in Windhoek. It was accepted for inclusion in the 31st Durban International Film Festival in 2010, and received five nominations at the 2010 Namibian Theatre & Film Awards, winning Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography.


Read more about the Namibian Movie Collection at http://www.africavenir.org/


Sarie Maritz

After the Rains…

An exhibition of ceramics by Sarie Maritz to celebrate Namibia’s exceptional 2011 rainy season

Entering Sarie’s house is not unlike arriving at Aladdin’s cave. It’s a veritable feast for the eye, with n artist’s distinctive pottery. As a founder member of the Potters Association of Namibia and a regular exhibitor, Sarie is well known to Namibians, but always has a new surprise in store for collectors of her work. As she says, life influences her pottery and she draws much of her inspiration from nature.

So it was a natural progression for this year’s exhibition to be focused on the rich plant life that abounded after the summer rains. Sarie found just what she was looking for in her garden and on the hillside behind her house, in the form of unusual leaf shapes, using the two-dimensional aspect for decorative purposes and the three-dimensional leaf-shape for her plates.

Sarie works in red earthenware, which she decorates meticulously with slips and under-glazes before bisque firing. Her earlier career as an architect laid the foundations for a love of order, logical design and patterns. The final firing is done with tin glazes that she mixes herself to achieve the special lustre so typical of her work.

There are no two pieces alike in Sarie’s collection, although they can successfully be grouped together to make sets. She feels that people have evolved evolutionally to seek differentiation, be it in art or in the art of survival, and suggests that modern life tends to rob people of their individuality.

Sarie identifies closely with the Japanese idea of a special dish for each meal, creating a visual celebration of the food. So it’s fitting that I get to choose my own tea bowl for tea once we have examined the pots for the exhibition.

The exhibition can be viewed at the Bank Windhoek Omba Gallery, Namibia Craft Centre, Old Breweries Complex, Tal Street, Windhoek, from 11–31 October 2011

Contact: 081 300 4021 or nunib@mweb.com.na

Text and photographs Annabelle Venter


 Arts Association Heritage Trust at




Themba Masala, 1992

Acrylic on board

This painting by Themba Masala shows a young boy’s initiation process executed by his father and grandfather. The three figures are shown in their traditional wear next to the hut with a fire burning inside. The totem pole to the right signifies the ritual. Behind the hut, hills rise into a night sky of animals and birds.

Masala worked intuitively, mostly from his sub-conscious with traditional, fantasy and visionary images. His colours and images have symbolism as depicted in the illuminated earthly scene of the hut with the holy fire burning inside, representing the sheltering home from where he will leave with the blessings and protection of his ancestors. The hills are somewhat hut-like shapes that serve as a bridge between this world and the ancestral or mystifying alternative world. The sky is mystically dark with animals and birds symbolising the connection with the ancestors.

The work has an ornamental and poetic feel to it, stemming from the simplicity in subject matter and technique.

Viewing times

Tues–Fri: 8:00–17:00, Sat: 9:00–16:00

Tel: 061 23 1160

Cell: 081 275 0678



This article appeared in the Oct’11 edition of FLAMINGO Magazine.


  1. sarah says:

    Keep it up Matsi..that is a job well done…all the best for the future…

  2. Riki Motinga says:

    Hem…you inspire me! I always wanted to be a fashion designer. … and I have just read through some of your brief info for the first time! You just gave me the courage to pic up my pencil again. Good job. .. keep on inspiring other young designers. God bless

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