Air Mbadada is a shoe line that is a modern take on the famous Zulu sandals (imbadada). This group of creatives re-created the sandals by making them with actual Nike kicks and adding the original imbadada details. Sfiso Thela, Thando Simelane, Mbulelo Methula, Katlego Tsoagong and Tshepo Lebese recently shared photos of their new project, Air Mbadada on their social media accounts and like many others I was fascinated by their work, and it made me very curious as to how and what sparked this idea. I had a chance to ask them a few questions about the shoe line and this is how it went.
How did you come up with the name “ Air Mbadada “ ?
The brand technology mixed with the sandal. It’s just the name of our project.
What inspired you to start this shoe line?
The aesthetic of the Mbadada mixed with the comfort of one of the most iconic Nike shoes. The product design is inspired by the imbadada sandals and the general traditional Zulu wear and it’s lifestyle and those who are affiliated with the imbadada and Zulu wear (Taxi drivers/Zulu men from KZN (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) who now reside in the inner city of Johannesburg or surrounding townships who more than often wear a nike product in conjunction with the above-mentioned fashion sense.
How long is the production and the creative process?
Production usually takes a week, being working on it since last year (in this busy city) but the idea was instant.
When you created these shoes did you have a target market in mind?
It was purely just art. Purely for the need to create, we had no target market in mind, It’s for display only.
I was intrigued by the production process behind the making of the sandal, do you do anything to jumpstart your creative juices or you just do it?
Keep a health lifestyle, live, learning and referencing the world.
Recently found out that Air Mbadada is not only a shoe line, there’s also a Merchandise, tell me a bit about the clothing.
The Air Mbadada is just one of many projects offering from the PJs.
Describe Air Mbadada in one word.
Where can people buy the shoes and the merch?
We offer options of having clients send their shoes and we customize them or they could get a new pair specifically designed for them. They can contact anyone of the members.
[ illustrated by Thando Simelane. ]
For more information and details about the clothing and the shoe line, message: