Sekayi and Tukiya: We want MaFashio to represent Zambia on a much more international scale

Sekayi Tukiya Fundafunda MaFashio she leads africa
When sisters Sekayi & Tukiya started @MaFashio they didn’t know that fashion blogs existed Click To Tweet

With big smiles and charming personalities to match, Sekayi and Tukiya Fundafunda have a star-like quality about them. Popularly known as Kahyi & Kii, the powerhouse sister-duo are behind Zambia’s hottest fashion blog, MaFashio.

According to the sisters, “MaFashio” is a slang that describes someone who either looks really good —or really strange. In other words, fashion that makes a statement. That is essentially what MaFashio aims to deliver —content that celebrates the uniqueness and strangeness of Zambian fashion and culture, packaged in a way that is fun, inspiring, and accessible. Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, MaFashio has positioned itself as the premier “style house” in Zambia with its one-stop shop approach to fashion solutions, including blogging and styling and creative direction.

Kahyi & Kii have carved out a permanent place for themselves on the fashion and lifestyle scene in Zambia and are well on their way to becoming a successful and well-recognized international fashion brand. The sisters recently opened up to SLA contributor Uloma about their blog, fashion, and some of their favourite things from 2016.

How did MaFashio begin? Where did you find the inspiration to start a fashion blog?

Kahyi: We had a lot of artistic influences growing up —mom made wedding dresses and dad was an artist. As teenagers we dressed very differently from our peers, which wasn’t something that was popular in Zambia at the time. One summer towards the end of our high school years, Kii and I happened to spend a lot of time together, and we discovered just how cool the other [person] was.

As we spent time getting to know each other and observing the people around us, we both simultaneously had this realization that we were encountering a lot of people dressed in really interesting and diverse ways. That was how the idea for MaFashio came about. One day we just decided that we were going to start telling people they looked nice, take their pictures, and create a place where we could post and share these pictures.

At the time we started, we didn’t even know that “fashion blogs” existed. All we knew was that we had found this project that we were really passionate about and we were determined to pursue it as far as we could. We built a simple blog on Blogger put up pictures, then spammed everyone we could think of to direct them to our blog.

One day we got a call from Gareth Bentley, who had somehow caught wind of our site and was impressed by what we were doing. He showed us how other bloggers were doing it and gave us tips on how to make the site appear more professional. From there things sort of took off.

When did you realize that MaFashio had finally broken onto the Zambian fashion scene in a big way?

It was definitely when we got invited to attend and blog at Fashion Week in 2013. It was such a surreal experience, getting the VIP treatment and being introduced to some major players in the Zambian fashion industry.

Being at that event and getting to blog about it definitely put us on the map and opened doors for us. After that, we knew it was time to take MaFashio to the next level and that was when we decided to register the brand as an official entity.

We never back down from a challenge and we are motivated to continue improving our skills Click To Tweet

Your story sounds almost like a fairytale. Coming from an artistic background, having a flair for fashion and design, and then starting what was probably the first fashion blog in Zambia at a time when there was no one else in the space.

Were there any parts of this whole process that did not come easy to you?

You’re right, we do have a natural affinity for styling and writing, but the photography and other technical aspects didn’t come easy and took a lot of effort. In fact, we are still learning, but that’s what I love about us.

We never back down from a challenge and the more MaFashio grows, the more motivated we are to continue improving our skills, acquiring new ones, and also asking for help when there is something we can’t do ourselves.



How does the division of labour within MaFashio work?

Kahyi: I have a background in Economics and Finance, so I would say I am the more business-savvy one of the team. I love structure and I enjoy creating systems so I am always looking for avenues to incorporate that into our business.

Kii: I have a background in Law, which has come in quite useful in interpreting the contracts we are presented with. When it comes to MaFashio, while Kahyi focuses more on the planning and organization, I would say I contribute more to creating the content and aesthetics for the site.

In the best of ways, Kahyi is the yin to my yang and we complement each other in a way that is good for the business.

As frontrunners in the fashion blogging industry in Zambia, how have you embraced this role as leaders and mentors? Also, as others come onto the scene, what has it been like dealing with the competition?

Kahyi: Last year we organized an event called Fashion for Brunch and honestly it was a struggle to scrape together 16 bloggers at the time. This year, we hosted the same event again and we had 35 bloggers. We even had trouble picking the 20 we needed for the event!

It has been a pleasure for us to watch this new generation of bloggers come onto the scene, and we don’t necessarily view them as competition because we understand our role. The only yardstick by which we measure our growth and success is ourselves.

Kahyi: I attended a lecture earlier this year where the topic was about learning to “transcend” and I think that has been my mantra this year, professionally and otherwise.

As MaFashio, I see us knowing what our strengths and talents are, and keeping in our own lane but also giving ourselves permission to spill over into other lanes as things change and we find new ways to adapt. I believe there is more than enough space for everyone in this industry to grow.

The only yardstick by which we measure our growth and success is ourselves Click To Tweet

5 Zambian women doing amazing work that Linton couldn’t be bothered to

Unless you have made a vow to stay off of social media and the news, you’ve surely come across of the hashtag #LintonLies. #LintonLies trended for a few days last month after actress and producer Louise Linton wrote her “How My Dream Gap Year in Africa Turned Into a Nightmare” piece. It was a recent addition to the White Savior trope and was filled with so much inaccuracies about Zambia that African twitter had to say something. The hashtag #LintonLies was created in response and forced Linton to remove her book from Amazon.

While Louise was clawing her way through the jungle and chasing off humongous spiders in her mind, she could have simply picked up her cell phone and asked Zambian women to help her tell the real story. Write it, film it, market it. The reality though is that Zambian women aren’t waiting for their stories to be told for them to be deemed worthy. They have charge and are doing a darn good job of it. Even though more can be done to improve the lives of women in Zambia ( that’s another discussion for another day) those who stand up and make a change should be applauded.

Here is a list of Zambian women that are engaging in entrepreneurial bombassery that likes of Linton could learn from. Zambian women aren’t known to simply sit and let things happen, they are the women that are running businesses and changing the entrepreneurial landscape of the country. samba-yonga

Samba Yonga

Founder of communications powerhouse Kuatenga media, Samba is a media communications specialist whose work has showcased Zambia to the world on various platforms, local and international.

Kuatenga’s latest work is The Tikambe Natulande TV show , a youth-led program focusing on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Zambia. The Tikambe Natulande show focuses on educating young Zambians without losing them, showcasing stories they can relate to and answering even the most embarrassing questions. Questions like:

“What would you do if your religious leader asked you to sleep with him to solve a problem?”

Known for her great style and her deep laugh, Samba is passionate about unearthing authentic Zambian stories. She does not shy away from stories no matter how uncomfortable. Samba also challenges challenging harmful beliefs and narratives respectfully while delving into preserving our languages and cultures. Quite a feat!

If you are ever in Lusaka and hear of a cool cultural event, Samba has probably worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Yet she may also just be the lady at the market next to you buying finkubala.


Monica Musonda

Queen of entrepreneurship bombassery. This woman is revolutionizing the way young Zambians eat (cue the satisfied rumble of the stomachs of university students). She is the founder of Java foods whose main goal is to provide convenient, affordable and nutritious foods made from local products. This successful commercial lawyer set up the food processing company in Zambia in 2012. Since then, Monica has been pretty transparent about what it takes to be an entrepreneur on the Zambian scene. She is also open about leadership issues and often hands out solid advice.

Monica and Java foods are all about churning out nutritional foods that tackle the problem of malnutrition in countries like Zambia (by producing a nutritious porridge consisting of sorghum, millet and soya, for example). Java foods engages with small-scale farmers to provide them with grains through a self-sustainable system.

Monica encourages young women entrepreneurs to not be afraid of starting their journey. Do you have an idea? Get started, and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way.



Sekayi and Tukiya are two stylish entrepreneurs from Zambia, styling and profiling with their blog MaFashio. The sisters are very popular and are good at putting together great outfits, interestingly enough via thrifting. Instead of making style out of reach by only wearing designer things that a young Zambian girl may likely not be able to afford, MaFashio show that thrifting is a great source of pieces waiting to be handpicked.

They began with simple street style, but these two have fast become the go to for styling, makeup artistry and photography. They have also being a part of great social initiatives and looked good while doing it.

From styling the techie guys at Tech Hub Bongo Hive, to sitting in at Zambia Fashion week, the MaFashio brand is growing. MaFashio showcases great Zambian talent but staying true to the reality of living in Lusaka. Now, Sekayi and Tukiya are not fashion airheads who only live and breath fashion. They are young women who are working on various projects behind the scenes (like finishing uni amongst other things. Congratulations!)

cathy phiri

Cathy Phiri

If you scrambled to get the newest issue of Trendsetters when you were in high school in Zambia, then you probably know who Cathy Phiri is (especially if you also wore that sky blue and navy blue skirt daily to school, you know which one, Roma stand up!). Cathy Phiri has been in the Zambian media game for a long time, starting in 1995 when she and her sisters started up a non-governmental organization in Zambia called Youth Media which led to to the development of the award-winning newspaper (later magazine), Trendsetters.

After years in the business, winning awards and working as Media 365 (the company at which she is managing director) Cathy has a new show called HerStory. HerStory helps Zambians look at various issues from different angles. Media 365 is a dynamic creative and communications agency that focuses on communication strategies, audio-visual campaigns, marketing, and research services for social change and development.

Cathy has focused on educating the masses on HIV/AIDS but with HerStory she is diversifying. Now she’s diving into discussing the political situation in Zambia, the Blesser/Blessee phenomenon amongst other stories. The premise is that Zambian women can and will weigh in on what is happening in their society fearlessly.

Having been a part of popular shows like the MTV show Shuga (remember when Lupita was on Shuga?) where she was executive producer, Cathy’s evolution can be traced from each project she has worked on. She just keeps getting better! Cathy has long had a passion for this kind of work and gone at it silently. She usually pleasantly surprises us with her highly enjoyable work, which is always above par in Africa.


Chisenga Muyoya

Now, Chisenga is not playing around with IT. Mmhhmm, no sir she is not. Founder of Asikana Network (cue song, sisters doing it for themselves), Chisenga works hard on to teach young women the power of technology. Asikana Network also aims to increase interest in and to enhance the active participation of women in the ICT sector. They want to change mindsets and eliminate negative stereotypes attached to girls and women in ICT. Imagine a virtual reality game made by an African girl with an amazing story? I can!

Amongst other important things, like being a global shaper and consulting at the leading Zambian tech hub called Bongo Hive, Chisenga is on the ground teaching and equipping young entrepreneurs on the ins and outs of technology. By doing so, she ensures that young Zambians aren’t left behind.

Chisenga just keeps on learning and growing. She is open about her education, courses she is taking and workshops she has facilitated. She  inspires young Zambian women to enter and be a part of the technological changes happening the world over.

this_whitneyNow, these women I have mentioned are only a sprinkling of the women entrepreneurs making waves in Zambia. From Towani Clarke, Chizo, Zed Girl, NouKoncept, Cathy Funda Funda, Joanna Hickey, Mukuka Mayuka, Lulu Wood…the list goes on.

Its unfortunate about #LintonLies, but lets not dwell on the web of lies that she weaved (hope you do better Louise!). Instead, lets celebrate the work Zambian women are doing, the work many before them have done, and those yet to join the race.

Zambian women, we salute you!