Didas Katona: The talent behind ‘Magari Mabovu’ designs

Friday May 06 2022
Magari mabovu pic
By Ramadhani Ismail

When talking about a fashion design, I am always thinking about adding something unique, apart from that, other designs apply cultural attitudes, aesthetics and inspirations to make them look more beautiful, I can sum up by saying that fashion designers hold a special place in our world.

Meet Didas Katona born in 1985 at Nzega in Tabora Region. Katona Kashona is a fashion designer who is multi-talented. I am talking about blessed hands when it comes to designing clothes and a blessed melody when singing is extraordinary.

He has been in the industry for 12 years, designing remarkable styles that leave you speechless, he worked with different celebrities in entertainment fields, those artistes include Diamond Platnumz, Mrisho Mpoto and Banana Zoro.

No offence, we have a lot of fashion designers in the country, and each one has their own unique styles that differ from one another. So, speaking about the Kashona uniqueness is the way, adding other stuffs to make it look brand new, if you don’t believe what i’m saying, just try to picture a suit with a zip and another one using old car spares to create a fashion style.

Katona was born in a family of ten children, his childhood lifestyle was all about uncharted, always trying to explore, research and know different kinds of stuff so as to gain more knowledge.

“I remember back in the days, I loved doing some research on things and getting to know some stuff, you know I enjoy having knowledge about things, how it looks like this, how this happens and all stuffs,” said Katona.


His journey to the fashion industry started after he finished high school and began to study about the craftsmanship of shoes at the college of the Lather Association of Tanzania.

According to Katona, the reason why he chose a designer job is all because he enjoys crafting and creating new things, but apart from that, he is also a music artiste, having songs like ‘Mpenzi nakupenda’.

“I have been in the fashion design industry because I love designing stuff, am always happy seeing people wearing my designs and also I love doing music when I am relaxed, you can say that I am both a music artiste and a fashion designer,” said Katona. So far, Katona has created two fashion designs, the first one is known as ‘Zip suit’ and the last one, launched during the ‘Lady in red,’ is known as ‘Magari Mabovu’ fashion.

“Zip suit fashion design is all about having a suit that doesn’t have buttons, instead I choose to put a zip on it and the new fashion design of 2022 called Magari Mabovu,” said Katona.

Speaking about ‘Magari Mabovu’ fashion design which was launched at Serena Hotel on the stage of Lady in Red which was run by Hugo Domingo, Katona narrates that, after seeing many old cars being dumped, he came up with the ideas.

“There are a lot of dumped cars not being used for years, so I take it and create the new trends of fashion, I will keep displaying all these in my next shows and I will name them in episodes, but the theme will be the same, Magari Mabovu,” said Katona.

Apart from introducing the design, Katona chose to go out of colour trend, we all know that ladies in red are using the colour to go with the tone of Valentine’s Day, but he choose to go out of the box to amaze audiences.

Like any other professional job, fashion designers also experience challenges that can bring them down or choose to quit doing that job forever, it may be because of not choosing the right customers or sometimes ideas are underrated.

According to Katona, he mentioned that not being able to have a capital to run the business is one of the things that led to most young designers to quit or not having enough customers to support the work you did.

“One of the challenges is that, normally people don’t like and appreciate the designs which are homage, lack of capital to run a business is very hard to do but also the government needs to encourage citizens and leaders to support our home made designs,” said Katona.

Katona always believes that if you’re not willing to try, you won’t be able to know how far you have gone. Most newbie designers are shy and showcase their designs, nothing comes easy if you’re not willing to show what you have.

Despite all the fame and those stunning designs, he always looked back for the community, he started a campaign known as “Mtoto na Kiatu” with the aim of helping children living in difficult conditions.

He lends a helping hand as he spends days helping the Maunga Children Centre, making sure that his support is well received to those in need of something that they won’t be able to afford.

Now Katona Kashona coordinates different fashion shows for the aim of upbringing different talents from the young and non-recognizable fashion designers in Tanzania.

He created Lady in Red for the aim of costume shows which he organized in 2018 and 2019, apart from that, he also created the Dar es Salaam fashion festival also to make sure he gives support to local designers who don’t have connections to showcase their designs.