Meet Fashion Activist Chris Megaffin

Founder of “Bow Tie Challenge”, Chris Megaffin is a teacher who is originally from Toronto, Canada. He is a fashion activist who is on a mission to fight for social justice and he is using bow ties to achieve this.

On January 1st, he launched The Bow Tie Challenge. The Bowtie Challenge is a fund-raising initiative that was born as a result of his passion for teaching, interest in fashion and desire to make a difference in his local community. Chris pledged to wear a different bow tie every day for 365 days a year starting January 1st, 2018. “As an international teacher, I have come across educational inequalities in every country where I have taught and I have always wondered what I could do to make difference in the lives of these children”.

South Africa has some of the highest levels of socio-economic inequality in the world, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the educational system across South Africa. In 2016, 3 million black South Africans dropped out of school (15%). Statistics South Africa also show that children from disadvantaged backgrounds spend an average of 3 years less time in school than their privileged counterparts. Also, fewer of these children are put into early childhood development programmes – which we know to be fundamental to a child’s education and development. The situation feeds youth unemployment, and contributes to general instability in the country, as millions of South Africans cannot afford to buy food or access healthcare, decent sanitation and other essentials of a dignified life .

Chris is using the campaign to raise awareness about the importance of education and to raise funds for Afrika Tikkun. Afrika Tikkun is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide children from underprivileged communities in South Africa with high-quality education and development from cradle to career.

Chris is collaborating with some of South Africa’s up and coming designers who will help design the bow ties. He says this is to help support local businesses and give the designers exposure.

Shwezu have designed a bow tie especially for the campaign in the colours of the South African flag. “When approached with the opportunity to design and produce a range of bow ties for this initiative, we didn’t hesitate for a second. Not only is it fun, colourful, creative and inspiring but it also resonates with Shwezu.co.za‘s ultimate aim – to contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation. For this reason, we only use local materials and producers to create our unique Shwezu Shweshwe bow ties and other products. We strongly believe that by acquiring new skills (e.g. fashion design and sewing) through a good education, the youth of South Africa have the ability to unlock countless opportunities to grow and thrive. ”


Shwezu is  an online store for South African inspired fashion, shoes, bags, accessories and gifts all tied together by one common denominator, Shweshwe – the iconically South African fabric.

How to get involved

  • Donate to The Bow Tie Challenge via http://thetravelingeducator.com/2017/09/the-bowtie-challenge/
  • Share the Challenge on social media to raise awareness about the inequalities of education in South Africa
  • Join the challenge, upload a photo of yourself wearing a bow tie to any social media platform #bowtiechallenge
  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thebowtiechallenge/?ref=bookmarksTwitter – https://twitter.com/bowtiechallenge

    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/the.bow.tie.challenge/

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