The #IAMNEXT hip-hop competition called for Russian Bear Premium Vodka fans to submit fiery and attention-grabbing one-liners about reaching the next level, captured in 150 characters. Finalists were selected, and an online video series featuring the top three wordsmiths performing their lyrics was released on Russian Bear’s social channels. The fans then spoke through their votes and crowned Sicelo “JRetta” Ngozwana, an aspiring rapper from Port Elizabeth, as the #IAMNEXT king. His likeness and lyrics will be immortalised on his very own personal Russian Bear bottle, an idea inspired by the Limited Edition Russian Bear x Riky Rick bottle design.
We got in touch with the #IAMNEXT king about all things that lead him to his throne.
I realised music was something I really wanted to do and pursue, when it became my main escape from reality. When I find myself lost in the process of writing a song, it’s the only time I feel alive and free. I wrote a couple of songs then recorded them and after releasing them, people were satisfied and urged me to pursue music as a career. As it turns out, I listened. I finally found something I’m passionate about, that I enjoy doing and as it turns out, I’m actually really great at.
I believe that every single living creature on this planet, human beings in particular – have a purpose. God gives you a gift, and you are responsible for it. I understood that my purpose on this Earth is to be a storyteller and whether that is through mediums such as music or writing books or making films, it’s all up to me. God gave me this gift and as soon as I discovered what it was, and that I could really be great I made the decision to follow God’s plan and chase this dream.
Top 5, Dead or alive
The one thing that all my influences have in common, is that they’re fearless. Fearlessness brings about freedom. The freedom to be yourself, and the freedom to express yourself. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, Anderson.Paak, Ab-Soul, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, AKA and so on. People who are always breaking boundaries with their music. Finding new sounds and taking risks. My top 5, dead or alive, in no particular order:
When inspiration runs dry, I usually take a break from it all, and try to experience the world. I listen to a lot of my favourite music, read books, watch movies, spend some time with friends or family and usually by the time I get back to the studio my appetite is back. In all honesty, I get most of my inspiration from people. Their stories, energies, and the connections formed. So being around positive people with good hearts and sharp minds usually does the trick. So essentially I am inspired by people and the world they inhabit.
The message I would like to spread to the masses using my music or a couple of messages rather, is a positive uplifting one and most importantly, an honest one. I do that by using my story. My experiences, the connections I have made, the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons learned. I am a dreamer and through my music, I want to inspire and motivate other dreamers and those who are afraid of taking the risk of pursuing their dreams. I want to bring hope, spread love, happiness and positive energy. Everything the world lacks. I just want people to relate and connect to something real. And nothing is more real than the truth.
Russian Bear #IAmNext competition
I came across the Russian Bear #IamNEXT competition through a close friend of mine, Reatile Ntsane. He came across the competition on Facebook and shared the link of the post to me. I entered the link, and spent time reading and trying to understand exactly what the campaign was about and what was required of me. After reading and understanding, I sat down and wrote a 16 bar verse for the campaign. I submitted the lyrics and well the rest is history.
The competition’s impact on your career
How I believe winning the #IamNEXT competition will assist me in my music career begins with the simple understanding that all experiences whether good or bad are accompanied by important lessons. From the moment I wrote the verse that earned me this win to the two days I spent with the Russian Bear crew (7Films) in Port Elizabeth, checking locations, shooting as early as 05:00, going home very late and also constantly being involved in the whole process; I have learned that I am capable of so much more than I think I am. It helped me understand my capabilities and also that if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything. Also, winning the competition helped get me more exposure and what it also did for me was encourage me, motivate me to go further, to keep working hard and to keep dreaming.
Favourite flavour and mix?
Russian Bear Passion Fruit, and I love mixing it with ice cold 100% orange juice.
Words to live by?
“Be the miracle.”
Retrofontein apparel flagship store launch is a phoenix rising out of Daveyton’s ashes.
Yesterday was a good day for Daveyton as we saw Retrofontein apparel validate their dream of launching a walk-in store for their brand. Since 2012 this brand has been available for purchase through pop up stores and some e-commerce sites but mostly through word of mouth, cash in hand and the use of instant cash sending facilities, which demonstrated Kabelo Tsoka’s relentless desire to get his brand on the backs of many dreamers and believers alike.
We’ve seen this brand grow from an experimental clothing brand to a staple for people who have their stories deeply rooted inside the township’s core, with a dream to grow their branches beyond the invisible ceilings in the sky.
The store took a gruesome 6 months to accomplish and came with a lot of valuable lessons, but the important question here is why did Kabelo not stick to the e-commerce game and avoid the so-called dying industry of brick and mortar (In this case a recycled shipping container) outlets?
“As much as I’m also working on an e-commerce site, I opened a physical store because most people In the East (Ekurhuleni) are still not there yet, I feel my brand needed a space nyana to create a dope brand experience and to make the brand easily accessible to the people. I just want to create the trust first before I can make my online store live, most customers prefer to physically touch the gear before they buy it”
At first search, Daveyton comes off as a violent township filled with nothing but teenage pregnancies and ashes. Colloquially known as Vutha , meaning “to ignite”, this township was dubbed “the first black township with electricity”. Daveyton has a very rich history in politics, rebellious soccer stars, culture-shifting entertainers and has had its fair share of gangsterism, crime and all the social ills that plague communities that have been forced into a dark corner to stay separate from the affluent communities (Then, white people) during the apartheid era.
Decades later after South Africa became a democratic country and black people shared equal rights in this land, a ray of light and divine hope pierced through the darkness to give a new meaning/narrative to Daveyton. This light and narrative came in the form of a league of forward-thinking entrepreneurs such as Kabelo Tsoka the founder of Retrofontein Apparel, a premium streetwear brand that now has an iconic store which sticks out as a vibrant structure and business in this township’s architectural landscape. What can the youth learn from such a development?
“More than anything, this taught me, patience bro, so the youth needs to be patient, follow your dreams and try by all means to make it happen because, at the end of the day, it’s YOUR dream”
Kabelo admits that he faced many character defining moments and one of the biggest challenges was getting the funds to make it happen as well as staying clear of naysayers who didn’t believe that launching his flagship store was a good idea…after all, it’s his dream, why would he let anybody else dictate it?
The store is located at 5039 Mocke street, Daveyton and is open from Tuesday’s to Fridays between 10:00 – 18:00
Check them out on the socials below:
Riky Rick’s Cotton Club Pop Up store does it for the kids
Kaffein Magazine went to check out Riky Rick’s Cotton Club Records pop up in Braamfontein, Johannesburg and cover the beauty in its apparent spontaneity, we came packed with good energy, curiosity and a whole lot of Oreos and refreshments for what looked to be an interesting afternoon.
I first came across Riky Rick’s music when he dropped his Love and marriage beat tape, (I could write a whole review on this gem but you can download it here), it was then that I opened my eyes to his worldview on music and his unique form of artistry, never would I have imagined seeing his creativity grow and overflow through our screens, radios, phones and into the hearts of so many types of people on so many levels.
Riky dropped the artwork for the event a day before – in classic pop up fashion – and the kids did what they had to do, to show love and support for their hero; and of course to get in line with the hope of getting their hands on the limited merchandise.
The streets were flooded with people watching the day’s entertainment, socializing and showing off their brown paper bags and threads. Every now and then people would come out of the store in their new hoodies and beaming smiles, while the anxious were systematically allowed to enter the store.
A hand full of die-hard supporters had already lined-up outside the shop as early as 08:00 am on a sunny winter’s morning and Boss Zonke showed his genuine appreciation and love by buying them some coffee to keep them warm and in good spirits. He was dressed in his Cotton Club Records Super Distressed hoodie which he mentioned on Instagram as his pick of the litter, blue jeans and classic gold Tims. In sharing the spirit he let his true fans tag his Tims, another solid gesture that displayed his character…to those of us who are usually a screen away from any of his representations. The producer/artist also spent quite a bit of time having fun outside with the fans, taking pictures and touching base with people he knows.
At the end of it all he let as many people as possible into the store and celebrated with them. He sold out his new merch in a few hours but left no one excluded with his presence.
- The store had fresh cropped gender neutral hoodies with bleached hues of soft blues and a pink “Cotton Club Records” logo. Bringing out a free spirited air about this piece.
- Another option was a hoodie with bleached shades of browns mainly Raw Umber and hints of Tan. This item gives off a militant feel to the range as it is reminiscent of a desert storm trooper’s uniform.
- The SUPER DISTRESSED is similar to the above and has a heavily worn out, rugged edge to it, with splashes of dark greens and browns, the logo is in black and appears to be wearing out.
The downfall of the day was the clashing music and entertainment from next door which made the experience a bit jarring for me and made such an awesome day seem like a clash of hip-hop egos, although there’s videos of the man of day hanging out next door and supporting their work too.
All in all It was a refreshing pop up store that disrupted the way day to day business gets handled in Braamfontein and gave power to the streets. A strong message of self belief and community was shared with the audience…reminding us that we can all make our dreams come true if we put our minds to it. Check out the speech below:
Check out the gallery below:
David Tshabalala on the (D)ictionary of cool
David Tshabalala is an accomplished designer, Illustrator and co-owner of Suketchi, a design collective with an online store. The leader of Instabitions describes his style modestly as “pop, fun and refreshing”. Highly influenced by the 90’s era, it is with no surprise that his work displays a vast amount of beautiful blends and balances of bright colours.
We caught up with the Johannesburg based creator to talk specifically about his most recent collection of work called “(D)ictionary of cool.”
Lethabo Ngakane: Firstly, what was the inspiration behind the (D)ictionary of cool Series and who is it for?
David Tshabalala: In the bigger scheme of things, the series is part of a body of work I want to include in my self-published book. I’m also going to do a limited range of tees with the artwork. This series is for lovers and fans of design and illustrations and it’s an ode to topics and trends that I consider “Cool”.
Lethabo Ngakane: What do you intend on achieving with this project? What’s the bigger picture?
David Tshabalala: It’s a prelude to a body of work I want to exhibit next year and it’s also a way for me to share my work with people who love consuming it. That is very important me.
LN: How has the general feedback been so far?
DT: The feedback has been amazing. I take the “likes” and “shares” as a sign of how many people actually dig the work and with that; I can measure what people like and dislike.
LN: How do you avoid the politics of “cool”? Surely some people will contest your personal opinion and mediation of it.
DT: My work will always be a visualised personal opinion and I welcome that it may become open to criticism. I actually haven’t avoided the politics of cool if you look at my Trump “WTF” piece. I don’t actually avoid the politics.
LN: What is the common denominator amongst all the thought leaders that you have chosen to document/celebrate in this project?
DT: The common denominator is that these are people that I consider influencers in the purest form, not dictated by the number of followers or the brands they collaborate with. A large part of my work focuses on current events and I translate that in fun exciting way, leveraging off the power of social media.
LN: I have to say, I admire your ability to develop art and content that is relevant to our times, where do you get the time to be so responsive to what is current within pop culture?
DT: Thanks!! I make time after hours. On average; I sleep at 01:00 AM. I’ve also developed a style and technique that makes my process faster, where I finish an image within 2 hours max. I also sacrifice things like just watching series or just chilling by using the time to share my work with my audience. 40% of this audience becomes my clients, so it’s a long-term form of building up a database as well.
Words By: Lethabo Ngakane
Check out more of his work on Instagram!
Brownsense Market Empowers Black Business
Weekend Markets, who doesn’t love them? An increasingly popular feature in most urban areas, they can range from farmers and organic markets to open-air ‘chesa nyama’ like markets with all sorts of aromatic African cuisine and creative arts.
A fresh way to spend your Saturday mornings, markets have evolved from being just a place where “buyers and sellers meet” to an easy and inexpensive platform for emerging entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services while connecting, forging partnerships and networking their specialty face-to-face.
With new markets being opened every other day however, it’s become a bit hard to keep up. While most people go to markets that speak to their lifestyle, it has become harder to niche yourself as an emerging entrepreneur thus deciding what market suits your customer becomes a crucial step in ones market strategy.
To further understand this phenomenon and it’s impact to modern business, we visited BrownSense Market in Johannesburg, launched in January 2015 with a focus on the love of local food and crafts. We were obviously drawn to this particular market as it boasts a platform that supports and endorses black business owners only. It’s main goal is to empower and support black entrepreneurs by offering a space where they can become vendors and exhibit or sell their products to the public.
On the 18th of June 2016, BrownSense hosted its first winter market for the year at Ellis House Art Studios in Doorsfontein. Presented over twenty various vendors from coffee makers, to hair and beauty product manufactures, publishers, wine makers, fashion & jewelry designers and more, it was a warmly Ubuntu experience.
First on our radar at the culturally exploring market, was Thabiso Mahlape a publisher at Blackbird Books. We spoke to her about her company and how exhibiting at the market has impacted her business.
“Blackbird books was launched last year August and we only publish black writers and black narratives; our focus and joy is with debut writers’’- she said
With books such as Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi andThe Pavement Bookworm by Philani Dladla as star-raters, Mahlane is excited to find and publish writers who narrate new and rare stories.
“If you go into business now, you should try and find things that make a societal impact and so for me its about choosing narratives that allow black people to begin to explain themselves to themselves within the spaces that we find ourselves in”- she added.
We then met Ofentse Maluleke of TAJI, manufacturer of organic homegrown Shea butter beauty and hair products accompanied by her book An African Print Doek, which represents the importance of protecting your crown of glory with natural products that actually enrich your hair with the nutrients it needs.
“My brand is more centered around regaining a royal sense of being an African” said Maluleke
Other exhibitors on the day included brands such as Kofi-Africa, Hop Solutions, Magna Carta Wines, Nubian Nature, Baba Les Chili, Oamobu Naturals, Hola Funk, Pastry Princess, Couture Cakes by Charlotte, Khwin B Collections, NamNan Creations, The House of Diva and more even more stalls than we could get to.
Aside from a successfully curated space; we found that even your average attendee had something to share, be it networking (because everyone knows someone right?) to new business partnerships forming through client interest.
Speaking about the initiative, Mzuzukile Soni, founder of BrownSense highlighted that “The purpose of BrownSense is to create a system where we empower ourselves and each other through a holistic approach; doing business with each other is just one way. However there is a lot more to it and a part of it is just exploring different ways of finding ways to sustain ourselves, for example, getting to a point where we start growing our own vegetables. It is not purely about making money”.
BrownSense has over 7 000 active members and continues to inspire more entrepreneurs to engage, share and market their businesses on the platforms.
The next BrownSense Market (JHB) is scheduled for 31st July 2016 and if you’d like to participate, you can follow the Facebook page BrownSense or contact Mzuzukile Soni on 0613822005 or email@example.com
Facebook: BrownSense Market
Twitter : @brownsensmarket
This article was originally published on https://theblackbarbieblog.wordpress.com by Jabu Sopete
Peter Magubane’s “June 16: 40th Anniversary Edition” in pictures
On the 40th anniversary of the Soweto student uprising where over 10 000 students marched in opposition to a decree issued by the Bantu Education Department that imposed Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in half the subjects in higher primary and secondary school; Renowned photographer Peter Magubane launched his latest book at MuseuMAfricA aptly titled “June 16: 40th Anniversary Edition”. The book is a photographic documentation of that momentous day as well as its direful aftermath.
The book is published by Seriti Sa Sechaba and will set you back R780 for an authentic piece of South African History.
Here is the book launch in pictures:
Photo Credit: Khwezilokusa Mathonsi
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