Vus’umuzi Phakathi on building an industry and becoming a better man!

“An honest portrait that can only be painted by one who’s journey has stripped off all pretence and left him starring at the stark truth that one has to serve their purpose but not be a slave to their purpose. A most beautiful message that skulks around the brain and haunts the soul days after the show has ended.”

Review by Thandwefika Tshabalala for 12 Years a Poet

 

 

One-dimensional people are boring. They really are. Although two or three-dimensional ones can be painful to dissect, they do give an authentic non-linear narrative. I think poet and now businessman, Vus’umuzi Phakathi epitomizes the latter.

I remember discussing in great criticism how he tried to ‘build an industry’ in Western Cape by creating a poetry space that mostly had his peers in 2015. I never told him this, but I was stunned by the poetry circle in Cape Town, and how it kept perpetuating cliques – even once trolling a young boy who mistakenly called ‘Slam Poetry’ ‘Slang Poetry.’

This resembled a far-cry from the poet I had met in 2013; a skinny short man with dreadlocks, performing his exceptional and intense play at Baxter’s Masambe Theatre – struggling with bums on seats, but so unbelievably happy and positive. Yep, this was the first time I met Vus’umuzi through his friend, Mbongeni Nomkonwana. I must say, I thought he was secretly flirting when he made me the subject of his performance in (his hopeless romantic) character as ‘Romeo.’ I was nervously blushing.

Alas, it turned out he always picked a pretty girl he would address his love poems to when he performed. I made peace with it and moved on with my life.

A month before I left Cape Town for good in 2015, I spoke to Vus’umuzi and his business partner, Lehlohonolo Masina about how much I wanted to move to Johannesburg and how my purpose in Cape Town was obscure and had dried up. He immediately tried to convince me to be their business partner in a new project they were to launch in Joburg Theatre. The explanation seemed a little blurry and impractical to me, until I moved to Joburg to find out that his company, Current State of Poetry, was now open for business, offering workshops and slam on the exact same days as Word N Sound. I had to ask; “Vusi, are you in competition with Word N Sound?” to which he replied, “We are two companies producing and selling a similar product, we are therefore naturally in competition; a very healthy one.”

I think we were both impressed with each other, because we had both executed our dreams; me moving to Joburg, and him, getting his project off the ground. There was an internal “welcome to the grind,” from both of us to each other, and so, the grind began.

Working with CSP as an Arts Administration facilitator, I found my feet in the Johannesburg art scene until I fled to my own media path.

Those who follow him on social media know that Vus’umuzi can be controversial, probably something that stems from passion, unintentionally. Actually, I don’t know – he could also just be a hard-headed asshole. Such controversies include the time he slammed poet, Raphael d’Abdon’s poem.

I thought it was uncalled-for, but perhaps how I felt about it was because I had no access to the story behind the story until now.

“So, what happened?” I gathered the strength to finally ask him.

“A few days before I put up that status I was at a Word N Sound show, where my favourite vocalist, Samthing Soweto, was performing, Raphael was there as well. In one of his posts he spoke about how wack Samthing Soweto is, to a point that he called him Something Sowacko,” he explains. “I was annoyed by this mainly because I found him to be a troll,” he continues.  He says he once blocked Raphael because of this reason; in his opinion, Raphael seemed to always be ready to find fault in the current poetry scene and poets, and sharing these “faults” in ways that Vus’umuzi found quite rude, ignorant, and superiority-motivated.

“When I happened to come across his poetry, I simply mirrored his behaviour. And yes, I still believe that it is not a good poem,” he further elaborated, ending his comment with the fact that he did get called out by poets, warning him against the danger of how crumbling his choice of public display was. He listened, and he says him, and Raphael are in good terms now, and adds, “I hope.”

The journalist in me is a sucker for juicy twists and turns in stories. But, Vus’umuzi wouldn’t let me enjoy this beefy undertone from him to Raphael. A few days after the interview, he wrote to me saying;

“On the question about Raphael, I have something else to say: There’s a malicious trait about me, a defence mechanism of sorts, that I have in recent times been working incessantly on remedying, it came out during that time and it resulted to that post. Yes, I did and still don’t believe the poem was good, but the way I went about it was intended to harm. A serious flaw in my character. It has ruined many a relationship. I would like to apologize to Dr. Raphael and the entire poetry community for my malicious behaviour. I am poorly made, I am fixing it. I am sorry.”

I told him that this was such a boring response. “Where is that FIRE?” I insinuated, probing and interrogating this political correctness, to which he admitted he is a flawed man. We left it there.

On the real, I think it’s good for a man like Vus’umuzi to be called-outable, because of the danger that comes with pedestals that see criticism as hate. In fact, Vus’umuzi says he has been shaped by poets such as Flo Mokale, Sonqoba Kunene, and Zee Cube; people he respects incredibly, and whose contribution to him as a poet allows him to build the next generation by default. That said, this doesn’t mean the journey is a walk in the park. He said his failure to communicate about MONEY has seen him bruise relationships because of wanting to put up a facade that all is in order. As a result, he ended up owing everyone in the process.

“Running the company had put me in a position where I owed everyone who could possibly lend me money in my life, it has been that real, all this because of the lack of communication,” he said. But, this isn’t his only challenge – one of his frustrations is when poets get the year-long development from CSP, and then do nothing thereafter to progress in their poetry journeys. Although he says most of the poets they have groomed have gone on to do amazing things, he feels like when this is not the case then CSP has failed the poet or the poet has failed the program, or a bit of both.

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Be that as it may, in my experience, anyone who fears failure fears growth. And, this is perhaps what sets Vus’umuzi apart from those who want to direct from the bench, while he is playing in the field often short of players. This is also why he recently scooped an award as second runner up on the Destiny Man #PowerOf40 2017 Awards!

For him, the award “…means that we are seen. It is affirmation for all the work that I have put in the past 12 years. It says that Poetry came second out of numerous long standing stable industries. It means that we are getting somewhere. It says that we are almost there.”

His business continues to often crumble with cracks, like any other. But he has grown more patient of their loopholes because he says him, and his team know the vision, and finally understand that it will take mistakes for them to grow into more prosperous horizons.

In my humble opinion, I find it quite admirable how the CSP team, spearheaded by Vus’umuzi, continues to rise above it all – and the “kicking doors” spirit he has is probably what is positioning him into a household name, slowly but surely. Whether he knows it or not, he is a trend setter; there is no one who isn’t a trendsetter that can start something from scratch and have already affected so many people. He is also a (flawed) leader learning as he is doing it, frustrating some people in his unlearning journey sometimes. But ultimately, he is a mf with a dream; his dream is so fertile that it has also given birth to countless other dreams.

After having had his recent show, 12 Year a Poet, Vusi wants to slide into 2018 with new goals, like releasing a book, a DVD, having a tour and sold out shows.

 

La Sauce Africaine

If there is one thing I enjoy more than sex and wine, it’s having a chat with fearless African women who are bold and wild, making sense of their lives while taking their rightful place in the world. So, ever since I started binge watching the crazy women of La Sauce Africaine on Youtube after meeting them at the fabulous SheLeadsAfrica event, I knew I had to talk to this witty, quirky and captivating sauciness!

We are always trying to find our strengths and weaknesses so that
we can do what we are best at, but we are willing to learn new things so that we can
always fill in where  others can’t. It has been working for us so far and that’s how we
are able to serve one delicious dish after the other.

Zipho and Happy

How did this pot of greatness begin? 

Enjema and Ajoh first had the idea of having an online book club on Youtube with the aim of empowering black women through the type of books they would choose to read.
H.a.p.p.y and Bongi were then brought into the picture as this would mean that a variety
of perspectives would be available. At this point LaSauce was a group of young women
with a passion for improving their lives and impacting the society they live in positively
through education because we thought the change we need could only come through
books…

Really? Books? 

Hahaha yes. But, needless to say the idea of a bookclub quickly lost its charm and so we thought to just have a channel on which we would discuss important issues related to women and more generally to Africa as a whole since we love our continent. At that time we had no idea what having a YouTube channel really meant but we set it all up: the channel, social media pages, a logo etc and we were on our way. Enjema, Ajohche and Bongi were not social media friendly then except H.a.p.p.y who seemed obsessed with it.

For someone who doesn’t know your YouTube page, give us a glimpse into the broad
spectrum of the things you discuss and what inspires them?

We discuss everything that concerns us as people as we experience them in the different
places that we find ourselves. So if you want commentary on social issues, gender
stereotypes, Fashion, Sport, African culture and just life issues in general, you’ll find it on
our page. LaSauce is a lot more than just talk. We have started introducing new segments that allow each of us to share more of ourselves with our audience. So Enjema is the soccer god and will dish out delicious soccer commentary on the channel on SauceySoccer (She says she’s aiming for Minnie’s (Dlamini) job and more.

Bongi is our fashion icon. She will share tips on how to be stylish on a low budget on Sauced. Ajoh the hair and make up queen will share tips on how to slay the world with her makeup and healthy hair tips that will keep your face beat and your hair glowing and growing on a low budget too. H.a.p.p.y, the health and fitness enthusiast will basically share her fitness journey with you and this includes the struggles as well. She has been there with what society considers as ‘fat’. Her health and fitness journey has been an inspiration to us and she is excited to share it with everyone.
We realized that we are the type of people we are trying to reach out online and while we are always talking and ranting about social issues in our lives, we are also always looking for the next cool outfit or trying to get fit or trying to get that afro and the brows on fleek. We manage to do this with little or no budget. So we thought to share these different sides of ourselves and what we know with our audience. Why not?

 

I agree. Now, take us through the entire process of making a YouTube video from pre-planning to
being posted

Hmmm you can only imagine what we go through. From the anxiety, disagreements to
the uncertainties, it all goes down. We basically fight about the topics, laugh about them and finally agree. We are each responsible for one post a month, though we try to have the topics lined up in advance through a monthly schedule of the topics. So for each week one of us is in charge of what angle we would like to interrogate of any given issue. That person plans everything and sets a date for recording. We each do research on the issue and on the agreed date we go and shoot. Our conversations are not scripted, we do not have practice runs because we want to capture how we really feel in the moment of shooting. However, if we find what we have shot underwhelming or just not good enough for whatever reason, we go back to the drawing board and recook the soup with different spices until we get the conversation that is posted. After this we edit, post and make sure we are pushing the video on all our social media platforms.

YouTube is a growing industry in South Africa, and you chose it because you obviously see opportunities; where do you see LSA going in terms of this industry?

We are taking over! That’s the plan. To take over the industry. We want to create a social
media empire. We want to create content that everyone will not be able to get enough of
because they need it, feel empowered by it or because they just love us. We know though,
that we need to take it one step at a time. Our immediate goal right now is to get to 500
subscribers and followers on all our social media sites by the end of June come rain come shine. In five years we want to be one of the top YouTubers in South Africa and Africa with a million subscribers. We are ready for the challenge!

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How is the internet receiving you?

Yooooh it’s been rough! We got about 600 views for our first video. This was the one about the practice of women being the ones to take on a man’s surname. Since then we’ve seen a steady decline in the views and interaction on the channel. With the spur reaction video which was a trending topic we shot up to 14 000 views and then the week after we got 24 views on the next video. That was a hard one to swallow but it was a wake-up call and since then we’ve been breaking our heads to step up the game. We now take very seriously how our pages look and what we post on them, we care about how we look as a group when we go to places now, and we are trying with the means we have to keep content coming and to ‘shamelessly market [ourselves] online’.

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Any exciting upcoming projects or plans for 2017?

Yes indeed, we can’t wait to share all the exciting things that we have planned. Sauced, SauceFit and Sauceysoccer will be unleashed to the world. Saucessentials has posted it’s first tutorial on Instagram and its just all the way up from here. We have Acoustic Night which happens every second Thursday of the month at Cafe Ganesh, 38 Trill Road Observatory. We are so excited to put comedians, painters and just about anyone who is gifted and doesn’t have the resources, on a stage. We have our One More Girl initiative in which we take all that we have learned to young girls in schools around us. These girls are the women we want to empower and for us it’s important to tackle these issues from different angles. This project is still in the pipeline, but when it is ready you will know. This is just a sneak peak of our upcoming projects, stay glued to our social media pages for all the juicy updates.

People can watch our episodes on this link

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Virtual Tea time with Lars

Zipho: So, I am going to start asking you questions from the very get go – and let’s start from the beginning. Who are you? 

Lars: Okay, name is Lars Espeter. I was born in Germany, where I grew up most of my life in a typical middle class family. I studied English and German language and literature as well as Cultural Studies. Due to my interest in movies, storytelling and computer games, I change my career into Game Design in the early 90ies and since 8 years have been visiting SA frequently. In 2014 I officially moved to Cape Town to work at a Digital Arts Academy as a course manager and lecturer.

 

Zipho: Fascinating, to say the least! There’s so much noise in the world right now and you obviously have an interesting geographic identity. So, with all the crazy turbulent times right now politically (Trump, world’s reactions to Trump, military for SONA, corruption, killing of black people because they are black) – where do you think as an individual you stand?

Lars: What I like about the past few weeks is the resistance that Trump runs into. He seems to bring out the best in people, which is somehow ironic. The ‘sane’ people stand up against him. But there is also the sad realization that we do not speak up before it is too late.

The deaths of black Americans caused by cops in America … sadly they are a sign of how xenophobic and fearful society has become of ‘the others’ and how little a life counts these days. Fear is what drives a lot of people today and this the main reason why those who promise quick and easy solutions and protection from ‘the others’ get voted into office (German AFD, Putin, Trump, Marie Le Pen getting stronger, just to name a few).

 

Zipho: Let’s come back home. How would you sum up your opinion about South Africa, in general?

Lars: It’s a country of incredible potential. When I first got here and saw the talent, especially with the young people, I was absolutely keen on working with them. This is what I see still going on and it is shaping a future for the country that is very positive.
Yes, we have still problems with education and corruption, but other countries have that too. One thing that South Africans need to stop is seeing their country as a failed state. We cannot achieve anything, stuff does not work, we are worse than everyone in Europe, Asia or America. That is absolutely not the case. Especially in my field, digital art and game technology, I can state that we are on the same level as Europe. We just do not have that many people working in that industry and our infrastructure is a little bit behind. But South Africans find ways around that nonetheless.

 

Zipho: I’ve been producing for a tech show for eight months now, and I think young people are the future. I think technology is one of the things that allows us access at times (although sometimes it’s not that accessible to everyone), Would you agree? Why or why not?

Lars: I am of the same opinion. As I wrote earlier the open mindedness when it comes to new tech and using it is very strong with the youth in this country. There has been a study by the World Economic Forum in 2016 that concluded with the prediction that 65% of kids starting primary school this year will be in a job that does not exist right now. With the local governments pushing the new media and digital industries by funding and special programs (they started to do so) South Africa will catch up quickly, in my opinion, to other more advanced countries. We have a lot of entrepreneurs and talented young students that will make the best of those new technologies and turn them into jobs.

 

Zipho: What are some of the most futuristic stories that give you hope in the world right now?

Lars: A lot of ‘free’ energy projects happening, a lot of what Elon Musk is trying to set up is very promising, the advent of 3D printing making production more effective, cheaper and impact our environment far less. And, as said before, that the more liberal people start to stand up against the fear mongers and ‘us-vs-the-others’ people who have almost taken over in all societies and communities.

 

Zipho: What do you think being white in Africa means? Good and bad? How do people perceive your existence?

Lars: To me it is a relatively new experience. As a German I encounter that a lot of people expect me to have attributes like being very productive, being on time all the time, highly educated in every field and all those things that ‘Germans’ stand for J In some cases it could not be further from the truth. As a white guy I sometimes get accused of being a ‘white cunt’ or a ‘racist’ if I do not agree with someone of different colour. But that is rare. I really do not take it personally. And then there is the issue of being addressed by black or coloured people as if I am a person of higher importance, standing or importance than themselves which makes me feel uncomfortable. I am not a successful or intelligent person because of my skin. What makes every human being intelligent, uneducated, racist, caring, hateful or anything is how we educate and use our brain. It is NOT coded into us by the colour of our skin.Nature has found a funny way of telling us ‘Take a hint, kids!’ by giving that thing between our ears a greyish colour.

But those are very minor things, in general. I work within a very diverse team of lecturers from a lot of countries and I feel absolutely at home here and amongst friends.

 

Zipho: Personally, I think a majority of white people have a superiority complex, by default – the same way that any rich urban and literate person perceives themselves in relation to those in the village and illiterate. What’s your take on that? Please explain…

Lars: I actually think they a lot of them, deep down, see themselves as insufficient. Not only white people suffer from that. Which is why they try to group up with people who are ‘like them’ and see themselves threatened or infringed by others. It is very easy to distract yourself from your own short comings when you can point at others because they are different. I have seen this quite a lot. If we would remove all refugees from Europe, all white people from Africa, all Mexicans from the Us of A … who would they point at next, the guys in the other country, because they speak differently? If those would be gone, they would find someone else: the people in the other province, the people in the neighbouring town, then the neighbours down the street … other religions … there can always be the others.

When it comes to judging South African whites, I myself have not perceived that that often. We somehow had the same situation in Germany after the reunification. Some West Germans felt superior to the East Germans a generation. It is a generations thing. Society programmed that into us: The East Germans whose communism failed totally and we had to send them care packages. With the generation that was born after the divided Germany most of that has gone away. The ‘old’ thinking still lingers with many of the older Germans though.

 

Zipho: Looking at our reform governments all over the world, what do you think is being done right? You can focus on any countries you wish?

Lars: I am very interested in how Canada and Scandinavia do things right now. It is a very bold and courageous way of treating minorities respectfully, as far as I can tell. And they try not to allow fear to take over by addressing those issues. I have high hopes for that approach.
And we need a strong push in education. It needs to get better and modernized.

 

Zipho: Do you have “white guilt”? And, what do you think about this Bantu Hour Sketch?

Lars: No, I don’t. As a German I was told in school I should feel guilty about the Holocaust. That is a whole different topic, but I was born 40 years after the war. But I strongly feel that my responsibility is to make sure something like that will never happen again. The same is true when it comes to my approach to black people or Africa in general. I came here to educate South African kids to give them a good chance to start a promising career. Just as I did with my students back in Germany. I did not do it to help the ‘poor Africans’ so I can feel good about myself and pat myself on the shoulder, as it is so often perceived by people who heard that I moved to Africa and working in education. I came here because of the potential and the challenge to create something new and maybe contribute to levelling the international competition a little bit. What I absolutely am aware of is that African countries still suffer from the aftermath of colonial impact and Apartheid when it comes to competition with ‘First World countries’.

I help black and white homeless people when I can, just as I did with homeless in Germany (we have many of them, mostly white German decent, as that is our demographic). Do I try to change the world into a more-fair-for-everyone type of environment? Yes. At least I am trying and I think everybody should.

The video is interesting. I actually find it a bit racist towards black and white people, because it uses the old clichés again. However, there is some truth in its message. Talking about how ashamed one feels does not mean anything, it is the actions that we take that count. If one treats others with respect, in a fair fashion and helps because of really wanting to help (no matter what colour of skin that person has) why would one have to feel guilty?

 

Zipho: Now, let’s play “imagination” – tell me in not more than ten lines what a white person who lived in a world without pre-existing privileges (real or perceived) would be like?

Lars: That depends entirely on the person itself. I cannot say anything about what a white South African person that grew up here would think or feel like – or would respond. But maybe it helps to tell what I perceived with underprivileged people in Germany. I have seen something like this with my students, family members and other people I just met by accident. Some of them blame others (especially the government) for their situation, some blame themselves for not having made the right decision, some give up and others try their best to get jobs, start a business and get every help they can. There is no real pattern there, as it really depends on the individual and how you see the world.
Privileged in Africa … I guess a lot of privileged people (White, Asian or whoever) would really be annoyed by that a claim.

 

Zipho: If I had to re-imagine a black person without inferiority and lack of resources who has no past of being colonised, The first thing is that there would be no black person staying in a “township” because of the colour of their skin. Many would afford education, and would also not be on “survival mode” with what’s now called “black tax” The brutal killings in USA based on skin colour would not happen, and so, black parents would not have to tell their kids to be extra cautious because cops might shoot at them. And and and. But, okay – let’s move on.

Zipho: What are some of the things you hope you will have done for South Africa before you die?

Lars: Gave as many South African kids a fair education and a really good start into their careers.

Treated everyone with the same respect and appreciation that they deserve.

Developed the job market a little bit by creating new businesses and guiding my ex-students building theirs.

Helped to make the rest of the world aware of the great designers, developers, artists and products that this country has to offer.

Having taught as many people outside Africa who do not know it that SA is not a dangerous country were you get raped, mugged or shot as soon as you step outside your hotel – and that we do not have Giraffes and Zebras roaming the streets.

I firmly believe that over the next generation we can change this country and large parts of Africa into something that a lot of Africans themselves right now do not believe possible.

 

 

Nhlanganiso opens up about business, life and the HUSTLE

  1. Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?

Well this would’ve been simple earlier in my life before all these million worldviews, I now have to sieve through. The shortest response would be, I’m a God fearing young man, raised by the sweat and prayers of a single mother. As for where I come from I can’t pin point a singular place because we’ve moved around in an effort to evade domestic violence and thus becomes safe to say home is where I have chosen to establish my roots in; which would be Cape town at the moment and this might change any time from now. What do I do, well I’m currently trying to chase a million and help those who think I’m relevant enough along the way. I’m an IT administrator and a part time entrepreneur despite the misuse of that word in today’s rhetoric.

  1. Can you describe the kind of person you are?

Well this seems easy, I would like to think that I’m an introvert. Earlier in my childhood, my mother had to run away from an abusive relationship, leaving me and 2 of my sisters in the capable hands of an alcoholic father, who was absent 90% of the time. I grew up quickly and became a loner and self-dependent. I know what it means to have your friends tell you that their parents told them not to play with your because if they do, you will most likely end up at their house for dinner and they couldn’t afford your share because you been eating there for the past few months. So in short, I’m the kind of person who tries to help because I know what it is like to be without or be sidelined because of where you come from.

  1. How did you start your business – what drove you to want to start a business?

There was no profound idea nor did I get a bright idea whilst sleeping neither was it a dream. I just wanted a medium to communicate through and I seemed to open up or find a voice through writing and what better way to communicate my thoughts than to use a T Shirt as a canvas. Believe it or not, I initially wanted to call the brand Grab Da Afro, something that celebrated being African and Native but figured it would be difficult to sell to everyone.

Then later a friend of mine called Farai was leaving SA for Zimbabwe and decided to print a few tees in memory of him and his blog. Then everything started to connect as I taped into the native use of the slang word MOS and everything grew a step at a time. As to how it started, well it started with a R2000 investment from my salary, a bike motorbike sale and assistance from friends and family and finally a loan from the bank. Funny part is that I recently finished paying off that loan a week ago.

  1. In a new age, where the youth is obsessed with instant gratification and looking successful, can you break down the hustling part of what you do? How difficult is it? What are the falls? How do you rise from them?

The definition of success changes from one person to the next. I remember the first time I moved to a town and wondered how town kids managed to study with the sound of cars buzzing around them, since in my early childhood you rarely saw a car and whenever you saw one, you marvelled at the sight and then, having a car was success; well at least in my eyes. So I guess I don’t believe I’m successful yet and I’m still working towards it and thus do not really have the time to chase after these other things. At some point I thought a degree was success, then I thought a house and a car was it too but seems with each level I reach, the definition changes. I like to believe that each person has their own definition, to some, being able to afford expensive alcohol, date the famous yellow bone, and afford any other gratifying thing is success and thus becomes their drive.

The hustling part has become routine. It’s become a way of life. I have a 9 -5 day job and the clothing brand after. I also have a daughter and a young lady I would like to settle down with later on but frankly too broke to afford them, the fine things I want, so putting in work becomes the only move or drive. I’m either at work, driving around to deliver people’s orders or reading up on the next trend if not searching for the next swag. With the internet at out finger tips, research is made easy and I often think that our problem as the youth is access and if we all spend more of our time researching than pulling each other down, we would all create our own luck. The main problem is funding and assumptions.

People assume that, just because your friends liked an idea, it means they will religiously support it but this is not true. Facebook likes have become a habit and people sometimes like the girl in the photo versus the funky t-shirt she’s wearing and we often realize this when we are knee deep in debt. Your biggest pool for funds is extra income however you get it, be it from family or friends that believe in your hustle plus a great concept. I’ve had to play around with my salary a lot. Sometimes I had to deliberately miss certain debt order commitments just to ensure that the company kept moving and didn’t shut down. Endless calls with call centre agencies became the norm but fortunately friends and family came through. I took in a friend who designed websites and did graphic designs and a brother who had won R21K via the lotto and we basically combined efforts and hustled; whatever that means. There is no secret formula but merely a step at a time and trusting and believing that your efforts will pay off. I’ve slept on the couch in my own house because I want renting the rooms to generate income. You have to sacrifice and keep moving.

  1. Your style seems very cosmopolitan, contemporary and fresh – how would you personally describe your brand?

MOS, is trendy self-expression at best. Unlike the well-known brands, we rarely follow the known rules of fashion regarding collections and seasons. It’s really what you need when you need it in an effort to enable our clients to wear their thoughts and create their own moving canvas or style. We neither fall here or there which is what makes us unique.

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  1. Why the word, “MOS”?

It’s really catchy and part of our everyday communication. I doubt that a day passes by without that word being used in a sentence, within the South African context. Its slang and adds emphasis to whatever is being communicated and transcends age groups; which is the kind of effect I wanted the brand to have. It also reminds me of the friend who opened my mind to a different world view via his blog.

  1. How important do you think entrepreneurship & the prospect of Africans building Empires is in Africa, and why?

A lot of people are unaware of the term ‘Diploma disease’’ and once one begins to acknowledge its meaning, they will soon realize the importance of creating jobs versus looking for jobs. I have two degrees, A BA in human and social Studies and an Honors degree in Development studies both acquired whilst working and studying but in an IT job because I love to learn. It’s a catch 22, becuase you need money to start something and unless you have rich relatives, you will need a job to finance any idea. The black African child is really at a disadvantage because opportunities are often a result of access to resources whilst access is currently our biggest challenge. The spirit of Ubuntu has become black people tax. A little income being shared amongst a large pool of relatives who are often stuck in the poverty deprivation trap. Entrepreneurship has become a way of survival versus something people do because they are motivated by an inner desire or in an effort to create jobs. Proponents of development, who I agree with, seem to argue that sustainable development requires the participation of the beneficiaries of such development and it thus becomes apparent that in order for Africa to develop sustainably, Africans will have to develop it

mos3

  1. You will have succeeded in your business when . . .

I am able to employ other people and have them support their families through the fruits of the business or when I am able to build preschools within the hood via the donations of the business and mentor other people on how to start and run successful businesses.

  1. Besides MOS, what’s your favourite clothing label right now, and why?

Yeezy, it’s really simple and challenges the rules of fashion; nothing to write home about yet people seem to line up for his products. They have a somewhat religious following and I admire that. I’m a fan of Kanye, and I remember bumping Jesus walks on my way to my first UNISA exam and I have been following his thought process since then.

yeezy2

  1. What’s on the pipeline for your business? Where to now? What’s next?

More volume on the street and corporate partnerships. I’m a huge fan of music and there is so many talented artist I get to meet and would love to help, so a record label is an idea; whether it materializes or not, is a story for another day. Trying to open up shop in other countries with in Southern Africa but timing is key plus still debating on whether to leave my 9 – 5 and focus solely on this or partner with people from these countries and trust them to push things passionately, I guess time will tell.

Vukile breaks the guy code?

Have a break from the hustle and grind. Think about the love, sex and intimacy game. No matter how much you try to run away from it, it always catches up with you and you think, “what should I do?” Well, here’s a conversation I had with Cape Town based photographer, Vukile “Vee” where he answered questions from women to men.

Why do guys cheat?

Why do guys cheat? I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but honestly there is no reason why guys cheat. They cheat because they want to and use excuses like lack of sex, or “alcohol was the reason I cheated.”

Yes in some cases there is some truth or validity in some of the reasons, for instance if you always have to fight for you to get sex and you have had conversations with your girl about having more than 1 round a night and she just doesn’t want to do more, that might lead to you looking for it somewhere else.

What I have found is that with most girls, when they’re still trying to impress you, they will have sex with you almost every day and do the most nasty things with you, once they’ve realized that you’ve fallen for them they come up with excuses like “I’m tired,” forgetting that you have now become accustomed to what they impressed you with, and that’s where things start going south.

So in conclusion, guys don’t really have reasons to cheat, but they do, some just do it because it’s fun, some do it because girlfriend gives them a reason to. There is the option of breaking up and leaving her without having to cheat but then women start crying and we can’t stand that.

Why would you risk losing a great woman just for sex?

In most situations, we are influenced by the environment we’re in, you look at the situation and convince yourself that your girl will never find out, forgetting that she might have friends who are friends with friends of your girlfriend. Sometimes you don’t have time to assess the situation and have to make a decision on the spot, she is here right now and wants you to take her right now, and she is very irresistible and at that moment your dick is thinking on your behalf and you just want to bust a nut.

And your inner voice will whisper things like “come on, she will never find out”, we are so weak to that kinda shit.

How do you connect emotionally as men?

Not sure how we connect emotionally, we just connect as men over the simplest things like soccer, women that kind of thing.

With women it’s different from guy to guy I guess, for me it’s about whether I can see a future with you, if I feel you can make me a better person only then will I open myself up to you and make myself vulnerable to you.

vukile 3

When you say “it was just sex” do you really mean it? Like can you really sleep with a girl more than 10 times with no strings attached?

Yes, we can just have sex without getting emotionally attached to a person, there are a few girls I have slept with more than 10 times and I did not get attached. And yes a man can have sex with a woman and it will mean nothing but just sex.

Why do you leave the toilet seat up?

We don’t like surprises, lifting the toilet seat and a “floater” stares back at you, plus touching that toilet seat is gross.

When you buy booze for a woman in a club, are you expecting to fuck later?

Nope, I would be stupid to expect sex by buying someone a drink in the club. I have this rule, don’t ever buy women alcohol in the clubs unless they came with you.

When do you believe a girl should be intimate with you?

Whenever she is ready to be intimate, for me waiting doesn’t mean anything, it wont make me think she is any better than a girl that I slept with on the same day I met her. If she feels she wants me there and then, I wont judge.

What attracts you to a woman

The first thing is the eyes and the smile, then the body of course, thighs and hips of course, don’t really care much for big breast, the hump must be there of course, beautiful round ass. But that is just what will draw me to you.

What will make me stay for a while would be the way she carries herself, her speech, how she thinks, she should be able to challenge me mentally, nothing I hate more than a girl that agrees with everything I say, challenge me, let’s talk about the decisions I want to make, show me other options I should look at it before deciding.

Don’t be dull, be spontaneous, kiss me in the street if you feel like it, take charge in bed if you want some, take some, suggest stuff.

What is your favorite sex position as a man?

I would have to say it’s between missionary position and the one where she is laying flat on her stomach and I’m hitting her from behind. I know it might come as surprise but yeah, I do love experimenting though, I’ve tried about 28 other positions I’ve seen in the Kama Sutra.

Do you fake sex? ever?

Yes, I have faked sex before, there is nothing worse than having sex with someone who doesn’t know jack about sex. Don’t be stiff, if you don’t know what you’re doing then let yourself be loose and I’ll teach you things

Women Ask…

Ladies, these are the questions you asked men, which poet Xabiso Vili happily answered.

Ziphozakhe Hlobo 

Hey Xabiso, how’s it? Thanks for agreeing to answer. I have collected 10 questions from women and the first one is;

If you were to save one thing from the world to start over what would you take? Wether it be a species of animal , car, colour, women, children, the elder, music, internet , movies, type of sport etc. Everything else dies just you and save that one thing?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

The book “Indaba, my children” by Credo Mutwa. It would serve as the new bible. Black people would have intimate understanding of themselves from the get go

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Nice! Secondly;

What’s with the side chicks?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Hahaha!!!

Damn. This is a question I been asking. Like why is it ok all of a sudden.

I am polyamorous, right – so I believe in multiple loves. It’s completely ok to be monogamous but it has been sold to us as the only way to be – I really do think that there are polyamorous people out there living monogamous lives – so this side chick phenomena grows.

I think we need to be honest about what we want – disloyalty is not ok – in monogamous or polyamorous relationships. And we need to be ok with our partners’ honesty.

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Wow. Damn! Okay…

Thirdly;

What would you say pleases you the most in bed?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Blow jobs. I dig blow jobs so much! It’s not REALLY about the orgasm, right – it’s about the sensations. Lick the tip, the shaft. The different depths of swallow and the pace! Oh lordt! Blow jobs are glorious! Also, the face that women make when they orgasm – I swear, you can see all her truth in that singular moment

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Hahahahaha! Hhhmmm.

Fourthly;

Why are you so damn selfish?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

I don’t know if we know how to be anything else. This is our default, unfortunately. I’m really sorry. But isn’t it beautiful to know that when we aren’t being selfish, when we give and give, we are fighting our default setting for you. I’ll try be better but there is no reason why we are this way. We just are

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

I love your answers!

Fifth one;

How do men reveal emotions?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Grin emoticon

Like a flood, like a burst dam. I think we soak it all in, drop by drop until it becomes too much. Then we explode. It’s not healthy but this is what were taught – to hide our emotions but it’s not human for them to stay hidden forever. So we explode and every man has his own form of explosion. It’s different for all of us

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Six;

Can you sleep with a woman for six months or more and not catch feelings?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Yoh! You’re not out here making any of these questions easy, hey.

I think yes, you can. But you’d have to be working really hard not to. It’s possible but it’s not recommendable! Why are you fighting catching feelings so much. What are you afraid of? Catching feelings is not the end of the world, we need to open up more anyway – allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Seven;

What do you look for in a woman?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

I’m always initially drawn by the smile! Oh lord! A woman with a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh makes my heart go boom boom. Then you have the obvious physical things – I can’t even pin point what makes a woman sexually attractive to me because my own tastes vary so widely! But sexual attraction is important – But personality seals it – intelligence, passion, kindness, curiosity and a bit of a wild side! These things are beautiful!

But the ability to be unashamedly yourself, that wins it all for me. That’s the jackpot, the winning lottery ticket

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Lol at winning lottery ticket!

Eighth one;

Why do some men fight feminism more than they fight rapists?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

It’s a lack of self-introspection me thinks. It’s easier to point a finger and be like “y’all are being sexist” or say some shit like “here come the femme nazis” (am I allowed to swear?) than to look into ourselves and realise that we’re part of the problem. It’s difficult to acknowledge your privilege because it comes with giving shit up. If we admit and say we are part of the rape culture and start being feminist we have to stop cat calling women on the street, we have to let go of the patriarchal family and value system which so greatly favours us. But if we keep victim blaming and fighting the “other” we get to hold onto our power just a little bit longer and our privilege doesn’t let us see that if one suffers, we all suffer

 

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Yes, true. This needs to be looked at deeply.

Number 9;

At what point can a woman say “damn, he is into me!”…. Like what are the signs?

 

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Eish, this one is different for almost everyone. But perhaps these are some things to watch out for. But just because you see these things doesn’t mean it’s 100%

The best thing is to listen to his body, I would think

If you give him a high 5 and your hands linger or even intertwine – that’s a good indicator of interest.

Elongated, pronounced or frequent bodily contact

Trying to be in your personal space more often

I would think that if you start noticing these things and you start doing the same things and open yourself up – things should progress naturally

But attraction is not a science and attraction manifests for different people differently – I think if we ever want to know we must just ask the question; “Do you like me” and let’s see what happens

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Last one;

What are the main things that construct the idea that you are a man (good or bad)

 

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

*Gasps*

How do you even start to answer that question?!

As a people we haven’t gone near that question.

When I was in the mountain, I found those definitions antiquated and patriarchal and almost too far removed from my reality. This 21st century reality with the cachets and transgender and bisexual and gay and gender vs sex and and and and

Or maybe I’m complicating things. Maybe this being a man thing is simple.

I’ll tell you what I know, we’re meant to keep our loved ones safe but these days we have to allow our loved ones to keep us safe as well. We don’t have to be breadwinners anymore, the role of the “MAN” of the house is changing because the role of the man is changing. I believe in a time where a man can dress in drag and still be regarded a man. I don’t think you need to be overtly masculine anymore, you don’t need to kill a cow in the kraal (I’m vegetarian) or be big, bulky and muscular.

There are many forms of manhood and they’re all growing and changing and evolving and not everybody sees this yet but it can’t be denied.

We are in the process of defining our manhood.

Ziphozakhe Hlobo

Okay. Very insightful.

Can I ask you a bonus question, lol.

What is the toughest and most daunting expectation that society expects of a man? Why?

Xabiso Zanabo Vili

Coolio!

This tough exterior we’re always meant be portraying is so daunting and dangerous. And, I think, most of the time its other men expecting other men to be tough – it’s always our brothers and fathers and uncles telling us to toughen up. Almost like we’re not allowed to be soft, sensitive – as though these aren’t valued traits. I think there is space for hard and soft and if you ignore one of those then you become unbalanced and out of touch