Creative Director Julien Ntamakemwa on how Die Darkies came about and what’s up next.
How did Die Darkies start and where did the name come from?
We initially started off as five friends who wanted to create a brand. We struggled to find a name, so we ended up postponing the whole idea. Then one day one of the members suggested we create a group chat titled ‘Die Darkies’ (in the Afrikaans sense, not as in ‘die/death’), after seeing an Instagram caption I had posted. We later decided to run with the name as it was provocative and we knew it would capture people’s attention. We then made it more conceptual by breaking it down. Once broken down to its essence, it actually became Dark Key (Darkie). This was symbolic – you are your own key to success as young black Africans – ‘The dark ones opening their own doors.’
Who are the members of Die Darkies?
I’m the Creative Director and photographer. Prince Mukiza is studying film at AFDA. Gandhi Mukiza is an experienced model who recently worked with Gucci. Kevin Mukena just shot an international KFC advert, and Paradis Munyamana is also a creative director and model. As a collective, we are all able to bring our own perspectives towards the brand. We aspire to grow as a brand and together.
What’s different about your parties?
Our parties initially started off as an alternative nightlife option to what Cape Town had to offer. We’ve never really enjoyed the clubs, mainly because it felt like everyone in those spaces tried to be better than the next person. So with our parties, we’ve mainly focused on not having any VIP sections, and allowing people to bring their own booze. This gives people a chance to socialise with others that they might not usually socialise with because there are no barriers, as well as giving people the freedom to drink whatever they want. We also try to focus on providing our crowds with an experience, exposing them to new sounds, DJs and artists they wouldn’t normally ever come across. But we do mainly focus on Trap (heavy bass hip-hop).
What’s next for Die Darkies?
We have a party coming up on 22 September and it will be slightly different. We will be hosting it at the Youngblood gallery. This party won’t have exactly the original feel of a house party since there won’t be any BYOB, but people will be able to say, ‘I partied in an art gallery last night!’