Africa Is Now Magazine is proud to present our recent collaboration with Afropunk and Facebook Africa in the showcase, Unlocking Freedoms. We collaborated on the stills campaign photographer by the ineffable Trevor Stuurman. Compelling portraiture captures the essence of South Africa’s leading creative talent; Andiswa Dlamini —Founder of Same Sex Saturdays and community curator; David Tlale — South African fashion designer and owner of David Tlale; Karabo Poppy Moletsane — South African illustrator and street artist; Llewellyn Mnguni — Dancer, choreographer and performance artist; Bongi AKA Sad Boy — South African artist and skater; Sylvester Chauke — Chief architect, DNA Brand Architects; Thokozani Ndaba — Activist and director of Nthethelelo Foundation and Prince and Warren Meko — Fashion directors and owners of Kasi Vogue.
For activist and director of Nthethelelo Foundation, Thokozani Ndaba, freedom is about forgiveness.
Ndaba’s work with the Foundation draws on her skills as theatre practitioner; enabling young girls in Alexandra to heal their trauma through expression.
“Freedom is forgiving; to forgive yourself to be able to move forward so you can be able to do the things for self and gets their best knowledge of self.”
Bongi AKA Sad Boy — South African artist and skater
When it comes to challenging the binary normative, South African artist and skater, Bongi AKA Sad Boy, puts it perfectly when they say that it’s not about gender, it’s not even about the belief that girls can do what boys can do but more about believing that “you can do what you want to do.”
Sad Boy is an idea suggesting that we should just “express our sadness” by not “running away from our vulnerability, because that’s where our power is.”
Karabo Poppy Moletsane — South African illustrator and street artist
Karabo Poppy Moletsane, a South African illustrator and street artist, love of art started when she noticed the graphics and illustrations at a barber shop. It was really the first point of representation in the media that felt like home to her. Now, over time, her keen eye and inspiration comes from the aesthetic of Africa which is unlike no other.
Karabo is passionate about visually healing and bridging the gap between African identities; those that were displaced by slavery; and those remaining on the Continent. Karabo believes that it is in the process of healing through her artwork that she will help unlock individual freedoms.
“I am finding a lot of people who resonate with my art that aren’t necessarily South African … there’s a whole other African identity that obviously was displaced because of slavery … I would like to explore those similarities and see how visually I could translate or begin to heal or begin to make the gap smaller.”
David Tlale — South African fashion designer and owner of David Tlale
In a world where clothing expresses individuality, South African fashion designer David Tlale has his own ideals on freedom. For Tlale, freedom is “the power to be, the power to decide what you’re wearing, the power to say that as a young black man, it is possible to make it.”
In 2007, David Tlale was one of four designers to showcase his work during Paris Fashion Week and then in 2012 he was the first African designer to showcase at New York Fashion Week. He puts it down to determination and faith but also very importantly states, “the willpower to say that I can change the world.
Andiswa Dlamini, Founder of Same Sex Saturdays and community curator, is at the forefront of creating safe experiences for queer people. Andiswa’s goal is to create spaces that offer a form of healing, to be a home-base, and to be a place where people from the LGBTQI+ community can communicate and express themselves.
Llewellyn Mnguni — Dancer, choreographer and performance artist
Llewellyn Mnguni, dancer, choreographer and performance artist, freedom is expressed when they are dancing.
Having grown up in Mafikeng, their mom, who was a Latin and Ballroom dancer, was her inspiration and now, having learnt many dance forms while attending the National School of Arts (NSA), and even choreographing their own piece called Prozac, Llewellyn eloquently tells us that for them, “choreography and identity go hand-in-hand.” Their freedom is being able to express their story in as many ways as they wants to.
Kasi Vogue, is the brainchild of Prince and Warren Meko. The Katlehong-born brothers started Kasi Vogue as a way to inspire their friends in the Kasi who did not have the benefit of living outside of the hood, as they did.
When it comes to freedom, Warren believes that “freedom begins with you first… if you allow yourself to be free within your domain, within yourself first, it’s much easier for you to be free with everyone else.”
Leading African brands globally, Sylvester Chauke, Chief Architect of DNA Brand Architects, was born and raised in Soweto. A city with multiple languages and multiple cultures, he believes that to be free, is to be diverse. Chauke is an ardent supporter of local travel; and encourages South Africans to explore beyond their communities.
Chauke’s passion for diversity has played a key role in his advertising and brand communications, helping bridge the gap and to allow like-minded people to connect.
The ultimate goal for this trail-blazer is “to be part of the team and part of the network of men and women who are committed to building African brands.”
PHOTOGRAPHER : TREVOR STUURMAN
FASHION DIRECTOR : CHRISNA DE BRUYN WWW.CHRISNADEBRUYN.COM
FASHION ASSISTANTS : WARREN & PRINCE MEKO
MAKE UP & HAIR : NOMBUSO @HERO
CREATED & PRODUCED BY ACTIVE IMAGINATION, IVAN TURANJANIN & SHARON COOPER
LOCATION : FLAME STUDIOS @ CONSTITUTION HILL
TEXT BY HOLLY BELL BEATON