Our Story

Have you ever taken an exhaustingly long and hard look into the mirror and knew exactly who you were, where you wanted to go and how you were going to get there? Have you ever had all the answers to the millions of questions you ask yourself when you're all alone?

My mom once asked me a question which sent a cold, electrocuting shiver down my spine and left my jaw dropping, with absolutely no words to mumble out. She asked a simple, yet deep question: Do you know who you are? 

At first, I answered with great confidence and a sense of cockiness in my voice, “Of course I know who I am.”

She continued, “So, who are you?” “I'm Xoliswa Elizabeth Mnyanda.” She gently shook her head from left to right, indicating that my answer was a hundred percent incorrect.

Do you know who you are ? 

In the late 90’s, my father, a South African man whose family had immigrated to Zimbabwe during the Apartheid era, longed to return back home- to a democratic South Africa he had never experienced before. My parents eventually came to the decision to do just that: to move to South Africa 

So at the tender, young age of 5, I was on a bus heading straight for Cape Town, South Africa  with the only place I considered home slowly drifting further and further away from my grasp.

 And now, a decade and a half later, history is unfortunately repeating itself. 

I, a Zimbabwean-born, South African-raised young lady dreadfully longs to return back home. I do not long for home because of the hearty “sadza and guru" meal we ate every Sunday or the joyful childhood memories I hold dear to my heart, instead I long to discover my identity, my heritage and who I am in the place where it all began. 

'Who am I? What is my heritage? How deep into the soil does my natural 4c hair and dark melanin roots go?' - Xoliswa Elizabeth Mnyanda

These have been questions that have continuously spun in my head when I look at myself in the mirror, so I decided to begin a journey of self discovery. 

Through my journey of adventures and thousands of questions asked, I have gained pride in where I'm from, my culture and my mother tongue. I chose to express my pride through my love for fashion, which is when I stumbled upon a small problem: I couldn't find a decent African print outfit that suited my style nor personality. 

After running a couple of surveys online and speaking to friends, acquaintances and a few strangers I noticed we were all experiencing the exact same problem: the need for modern, African clothing. So I decided to address this problem by designing African-inspired items for the African goddess.

And that, my friends, is where Cyan began.

 Xoliswa Elizabeth 

Cyan, Founder