Q&A with Thato Mahapa

Thato “TeeKay” Mahapa is a menswear and lifestyle blogger and a fourth-year Wits LLB student. The 23-year-old started his blog, The Bearded Muse, in 2016, which focuses on menswear, grooming, and covers lifestyle content such as events, food and design. Mahapa was selected as the 2017 GQ (magazine) Best Dressed Reader, has collaborated with brands such as Spier and Kurt Geiger, and has a long-term relationship with Topman.

Who is Thato “TeeKay” Mahapa?
I am a Polokwane born and Pretoria bred creative and sartorial menswear enthusiast who is studying towards an LLB degree at Wits University.

When and how did your passion for fashion and blogging begin?
My mother started dressing me in formal wear when I was around five years old. In my early primary school years, she would dress me in two-piece ensembles, shirts and formal pants, ties etc. for civvies day. I used to hate it because I wanted to wear what all my other peers were wearing, but for a long time my mother didn’t budge. She only allowed me to choose my own clothes a bit later in primary school.

What is The Bearded Muse?
The Bearded Muse is a platform to learn the do’s, don’ts, the “don’t forgets”, and the “take notes” of menswear and lifestyle through my personal experiences and perspective.

Why did you decide to start The Bearded Muse?
I saw a gap in the market. I wanted to take the lifestyle I was living already and share it with other gents in the hopes of it being the most trusted guidebook in African men’s fashion.

You were chosen as GQ’s Best Dressed Reader last year. How has that influenced your career?
More than anything it gave me exposure to a lot of brands and I got a lot of work as a result.

How do you find a balance between being a full-time LLB student and a lifestyle blogger?
I won’t lie, it’s quite hectic. I just sacrifice my social life to make sure I get school right.

What inspires your own style and your social media aesthetic?
My style is largely inspired by uptown metropolitan professionals and Afrodandyism.

Describe a typical day in your life
I wake up, run a few kilometres on the treadmill, have green tea, get ready for school (picking out an utfit always takes me ages), go to school. I usually have events in the evening so I do that or if my day ends early, then I create content.

What can we expect from you in 2018?
This year expect more content on the blog (in various forms of media), and perhaps a big feature in a high-end in store poster.


Students encouraged to network at universities

BUSINESSWOMAN: Dr Mzikazi Nduna was the guest speaker for pop-up talk hosted by BWASC. Photo: Provided

“WE NEED to break the cycle of women lacking in the business sphere because the only way, as women, that we can take a stage and participate in business is if we intervene and break that.”

These are the words of 2017 Businesswoman of the Year Award in Education and Wits Head of the School of Human and Community Development, Dr Mzikazi Nduna, at Wits Education campus on Tuesday evening. She was a guest speaker for a pop-up talk by the Wits Businesswomen’s Association Student Chapter (BWASC) as part of a financial literacy seminar organised by the Medhurst Hall residence house committee.
Nduna was speaking to female residence students about the lack of women in the business and the importance of association.

According to the BWASC chairperson and postgraduate LLB student, Boikhutso Mokoto, the pop-up talk is part of a series that will continue for the rest of the year. “It’s a good marketing tool but these ones are specifically for a recruitment drive and we’re just trying to rally up the numbers and get people signed up and introduce them to the BWA,” she said.

Nduna spoke about the importance for students to make connections at university and to remember them for the future.
“One of things that helps men and women succeed in their chosen careers or in business is the power of association. It is very important for you to think that the people that you meet in this university during your time here are going to be important to you in the next 10, 15 or 20 years,” said Nduna.

“If you had started to connect with these people when you were in varsity, then you can be available to leverage something called social capital, which is the ability for us to come together and do things together. Social capital enables us to participate in platforms where we share information, knowledge, skills and advice and where we are able to start up associations and companies,” she added.

The BWASC has been operational for a year and for 2018, plans to conduct initiatives that will be focusing on leadership, skills development and entrepreneurship for female students. It is also starting a mentorship circle.

“What we want to do with the mentorship circles that we’re launching is to insure that as a third-year or fourth-year student, you can give someone the advice that you didn’t have and as a first or second year student, you can get through the system with less humps and bumps,” said Mokoto.

The BWASC will be hosting a welcome evening on Thursday, March 1.