the black frida

April 07, 2018

words by: Vane Karolle

Let artist Rorisang Ludo Ndlovu show you what Frida Kahlo would have looked like if she had been a black woman, if you’ve ever wondered, that is. The 22-year-old Botswana creative channels the famed Mexican portrait artist in her new body of work fittingly titled The Black Frida.

Through Ndlovu’s photography, fashion, design and bold conceptual artistry, she draws from Frida’s troubled sojourn through life, how she overcame challenges using her art as a medium, commemorating the famous Mexican painter.

Ndlovu portrays the stoic Frida Khalo by way of Thembinkosi Buto, an aspiring model from the city of Molepolole. For Ndlovu, it was really important to get someone with an equally strong personality as well as a strong face to characterize Frida as her Rorisang Lu brand extends beyond clothing.

Kahlo’s unusual beauty, iconic monobrow and distinctly braided crown is reimagined with Thembinkosi whose striking fore structure bears some semblance to that of the remarkable Kahlo. According to Ndlovu, who uses her brand as platform for up-and-coming muses to help build their portfolios, Thembinkosi was picked for her professionalism and her enthusiasm to learn and work with the Rorisang Lu brand.

Without a doubt, Rorisang Lu and Frida Kahlo share a few similarities. However, the most glaring likeness is the authenticity both parties embody. There’s also their love for nature, what with Kahlo’s obsession with plants, which can be seen in Ndlovu’s homage The Black Frida. I’ll have you know that it’s no coincidence that Ndlovu’s Rorisang Lu braided creations are also featured in the portrayal. It just goes to show that Rorisang Lu is unique, unafraid and unapologetic with her style; evidently Kahlo-like traits.

Beyond just the physical outlook of the entire project, the self love and truth to self exuded by Rorisang Lu in The Black Frida cannot be ignored—the same peculiarities that endeared Kahlo to the hearts of many.


Photography, Outfits | Rorisang Ludo Ndlovu
Beauty Director | Sadie Simanyana
Model | Thembinkosi Buto
Shot at Thapong Visual Arts Centre