Oscar Mbo, Zakes Bantwini, DBN Gogo, Musa Keys, & Mörda: Mastering the Art of Branding Through Style

Oscar Mbo, Zakes Bantwini, DBN Gogo, Musa Keys, & Mörda: Mastering the Art of Branding Through Style

AFI Insider

Music and fashion have always been intertwined, a beautiful dance where one informs the other. But in today's hyper-visual world, artists are using fashion more strategically than ever before. It's no longer just about looking good; it's about creating a visual language that encapsulates their sound, their message, and their place in the ever-evolving music industry.

Take Beyoncé's recent Grammy Awards appearance, where she donned a Western-inspired ensemble by Louis Vuitton, complete with a Stetson hat. This seemingly "unexpected choice," as many phrased it, wasn't a fashion faux pas.


It was a clever foreshadowing of her foray into country music, culminating in the chart-topping single "Texas Hold 'Em." Just like her Studio 54-inspired wardrobe for the "Renaissance" era, Beyoncé strategically leveraged fashion to build anticipation for her musical shift. Beyoncé understands the power of fashion to shape perception and build anticipation.

Nigerian Afrobeat superstar, Burna Boy, exemplifies this strategic use of fashion to elevate his brand.  His stage presence is as electrifying as his music, and a significant part of that comes from his carefully curated wardrobe. 


Burna Boy frequently dons pieces from established African designers like Thebe Magugu and rising international stars like Robert Wun. This focus on high fashion not only complements his energetic performances but also demonstrates his commitment to artistic excellence.

This strategic brand building hasn't gone unnoticed. Burna Boy's fashion choices have garnered the attention of major fashion labels, culminating in his recent collaboration with G-Star Raw. The collaboration is a win-win: Burna Boy gains access to a wider audience and G-Star Raw benefits from his undeniable star power.

This strategic use of fashion isn't unique to global superstars.


In South Africa, the connection between music and style is just as potent. The annual Metro FM Music Awards, for example, recognises the importance of visual identity with their Best Styled Artist award. Past winners like Nhlanhla Mafu, Mafikizolo, and Somizi Mhlongo are all celebrated for their ability to use fashion to enhance their artistry.

This year's nominees further solidify the power of personal style in the South African music scene. 

AFI Fashion Experience Metro FM Music Awards

By using fashion as a visual narrative, South African artists are not only shaping their individual brands but also contributing to a vibrant and evolving fashion landscape that reflects the unique sounds and stories of the continent.

This symbiotic relationship between music and fashion is a testament to the power of creative expression, pushing both industries to new heights and keeping us captivated every step of the way. 

AFI Fashion News takes a closer look at the personal style of the Best Styled Artist nominees of the Metro FM Music Awards 2024.

Zakes Bantwini 


The Grammy winner has always been known for his style, even being named one of the most stylish men in the country by GQ South Africa in 2012. In recent years, he has experimented with his style, choosing to wear a mix of African and western fashion brands that showcase his edgy take on suiting. Even when he experiments with a more street style execution, he always makes sure to play with colour, textiles, shapes, and silhouettes. He has always understood the power of basics to build a wardrobe that will last you the test of time.



Murdah Bongz, as he is widely known, loves a loose-fitting silhouette. He’s almost always in stylishly loose clothing, whether its trousers, kaftans or shirts that allow him to showcase his comfortable style. He is not afraid to wear full print-on-print outfits, or experiment with textiles. The DJ’s collection of hats which includes fedoras, poor boy hats and bucket hats, are always the perfect way he finishes his outfits.

DBN Gogo 


While the DJ and producer is the only woman nominated in the category, she holds her own as one of the most stylish in the country. She works with various designers to craft garments that will show off her style and accentuate her physique. She plays with shapes, volume, and textiles- from the garments she wears, to the accessories. All her looks are all about what looks good on her and rarely shies away from showing her personality through her clothing.

Musa Keys 


When it comes to OTT style, Musa Keys is that person. Not scared to take risks or make fashion faux pas, he is one of the most refreshing musicians and his sense of style has made him appealing to a wider audience. From ruffles, bold colours, prints, fabrics, and oversized silhouettes, he has fun with fashion. He won the Best Styled Artist at the 2023 Metro FM Music Awards and is expected by many to repeat the feat.  

Oscar Mbo


The DJ is a true style chameleon. And it helps that his modelesque looks and height, give him an unfair advantage when it comes to clothes. And, like any style savvy individual, he takes advantage of it. He looks great in suits as he does in more relaxed outfits. He truly has fun with fashion, different silhouettes, and fits. His experiments allow him to really show off his style in a many that few are doing right now.


AFI will be hosting the AFI Fashion Experience on Friday, 26 April, followed by the AFI MMA Black Carpet hosted by AFI.

The Metro FM Music Awards will be on April 27, 2024, at Mbombela Stadium. 

Follow us on social media to get a taste of the experience.

Header Image Credits: Instagram Accounts of Featured Musicians. 


Musa Keys by @cozyylens

DBN Gogo by @hlonisickjoe

Mörda by @shaun_desousa__

Oscar Mbo

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