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.

RELATED ARTICLES

Cool kid on Campus: Karabo Mokoena

Karabo Mokoena is a 21 year Environmental Science student at Wits who is trying to change perceptions about black women’s natural hair and empower Africa at the same time. She is the CEO of a company called Nalane ea Afrika (African heritage) which produces natural hair care products for anyone who wants to manage their hair better.

EMPOWERING AFRICA: Karabo Mokoena is a Wits student making waves with her hair product Nalane ea Afrika. Photo: Lwazi Mazibuko

EMPOWERING AFRICA: Karabo Mokoena is a Wits student making waves with her hair product Nalane ea Afrika. Photo: Lwazi Mazibuko

Why did you start Nalane ea Afrika?

“It was that thing of, I’ve never seen MY hair. Having my hair natural means that, it’s my hair in its natural state, in its unique state… When we were little we would be forced to relax our hair and in those days, it was so painful. You would always burn from the relaxer and we want to prevent a lot of parents from having doing that to their kids because now we have the resources to change that.”

What is different about your product?

“One of the things that we strive for in the company is to only use African products. Everything that we use must be African. Even if we buy our oils, all our raw materials must be African. We even want the people who are giving us the raw materials to process them in Africa. So we want to empower Africa as a whole.”

How do you juggle the management of Nalane ea Afrika with your studies?

“My role right now is basically running the company, it’s still very small. The company I dedicate to during weekends. When I’m at school, I’m at school. I have my school time and then in between, even in between lectures, I’ll look at my e-mails to see what we need to do. I haven’t neglected my studies, I’m doing very well.”

How has your degree help you create the product?

“It helped in the sense that I did chemistry first year level, so that helped me understand when I was doing the research behind which products to use, which raw materials to use and if they would mix. I had a bit of background in that, so does my sister.”

Do you think that black girls at Wits are becoming more comfortable with their hair?

“I think so, I don’t think I could say yes or no. I only come on campus to do school and then I leave. So the people that I see – I see a lot of people with natural hair.”

What is the most important thing you want to achieve with your product?

“We’re going through a time where people are so conscious especially black women and I think the thing about having natural hair is seeing your true self. So I would like to achieve changing the mentality that – you being your natural self – is not right. That you can’t manage your hair because it looks unruly or it looks untidy. There’s so many hair styles you can do with your natural hair and I just want people to love themselves the way that they are.”

Students accuse South Point of false advertising

One of the South Point buildings in Braamfontein. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

One of the South Point buildings in Braamfontein. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

Students are complaining about dirty accommodation in a South Point buildings despite advertisements promising daily cleaning services.

According to the advertisements, all student accommodation common areas are supposed to be cleaned daily, but Clifton Heights is cleaned only once a week due to a lack of staff.“It is not possible to clean all communes every day at Clifton because we do not have enough cleaners.” said South Point facilities, manager Jan Botha.

Second-year social work student, Thabo Mokoena and other students have complained that their commune houses are not cleaned but said there was no response.

“I ended up writing in their maintenance book that they should not come to my room at all, because I can do better,” said Mokoena.

Students also said that they chose to stay at South Point because they saw on the advertisements that it is a convenient place for students and would be clean.

“I came to this place because I thought they clean for us every day. We are students—we do not have time,” said microbiology honours student, Keneilwe Ranakabae.

Clifton Heights has five cleaners to service 126 communes. Cleaning services are outsourced to the Tsepo Cleaning Company.  Common areas include kitchens, bathrooms, television room and verandas.

According to the Consumer Protection Act: “Consumers have a right to fair and responsible marketing. Suppliers are not permitted to mislead consumers in respect of pricing, the nature, properties, advantages or uses of goods or services advertised, if such goods are not actually available for purchase or procurement in accordance with these standards.”

Witsies passionate about the World Cup despite the absence of Bafana Bafana

 

World Cup mascot Fuleko will become a familiar sight in the coming weeks of the tournament. Graphic: FIFA

NEW KID IN TOWN: World Cup mascot Fuleco will become a familiar sight in the coming weeks of the tournament which starts tonight. Graphic: FIFA

Tonight, the one of the world’s biggest sporting showcases kicks off in Brazil. The 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will launch football’s biggest international spectacle and despite the absence of South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, Witsies are still looking forward to the month-long tournament.

“I am really excited about the World Cup.  We wait four years to witness the best players competing against each other.  A part of me is sad that South Africa won’t be participating in this World Cup,” said Phelelani Mpanza, Masters Business Sciences.

“I see Spain defending this one.  They play really good football, but as an African, I will be supporting Ghana.  BaGhana BaChana!”, added Mpanza.

“I think this is probably going to be one of the most competitive World Cups ever, which makes it highly unpredictable.  But I think Brazil might take it this time around,” said Lloyd Uta, Masters Business Sciences, Marketing.  

Some Witsies pledged their allegiance to African teams. “I’m supporting Ghana because it’s the closest one to home and they play good soccer,” said Pretty Makgabo, final year BAccSci.

Makgabo was excited about watching her favourite players, “I am  looking forward to seeing Boateng, Gyan and Essien on the field.”

Makgabo is also looking forward to the opening ceremony, “I love those,” she said.

The European teams have a number of Witsies behind them.  “I’m with Germany.  I think Brazil is a cliche.  I think Germany deserves to take it this time, Brazil has taken it too many times so personally I now have Brazil fatigue,” said Tinashe Chuchu, Masters Business Sciences.

Obakeng Motshome, final year BAccSci, is also keen on Germany.  “I like their style of football.  They really play to the whistle, they’ll keep scoring until the referee blows the final whistle.”  Motshome expects an all-European final between Spain and Germany.  “It would also be great to have the first European team to win the World Cup in South America,” he said.

Some Witsies were spoilt for choice.  “I’m supporting Brazil, Germany, Portugal and Netherlands in that order,” said Hitekani Makhubele, final year BCom.

Makhubele holds a soft spot for Brazil as she says, “I got introduced to football in 2002, when I was 11 years old. And Brazil was wearing yellow which is my favourite colour.”  She has been loyal to them since, “through two more World Cups and everything in between. I am expecting home ground advantage to make them go super saiyan… loyalties will be tested but Brazil to the end,” she said.

The opening ceremony will be televised later this evening with the first match between hosts Brazil and Croatia starting at 10pm, local time.

RELATED ARTICLES:

 

Having a sugar daddy is not prostituting, say sugar babies at Wits

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?: Photo lifted from a website where women can find sugar daddies.  Women students at Wits have admitted to having sugar daddies.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?: Photo lifted from a website where women can find sugar daddies. Women students at Wits have admitted to having sugar daddies.

A number of Wits women students have admitted to being sugar babies – having recruited sugar daddies to meet their material needs.

These young women are into the high life, and aren’t afraid to put out to get it.  They favour the more extravagant lifestyle and admit the easiest way to meet their material needs is to get themselves a “papa bear”. They said the term was less “stigmatised” and they could use it freely in public conversations.

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to four young women with sugar daddies and each knew of several more.

Kiano Mohlala, a 20-year-old Wits medical student, admitted she had a papa bear, but not because she needed money. She came from a well-off family.

“Honestly, I love money. I know some probably do it to pay for school and stuff but that’s not why I have one.”

Mohlala has both a white and a black papa bear, but would not disclose the identity of either. Her white sugar daddy is 42, but she would give no information on the other. She admitted the ideal situation would be to have a platonic relationship, but these were rare.

“People liken having a papa bear to prostitution, but it’s different. These men are paying for my time and, quite frankly, I don’t mind selling my time.”

Mohlala told Wits Vuvuzela the most expensive gift she had received from her white papa bear was an all-expenses paid trip to Namibia with her friends. “Me and friends wanted to go to on holiday and he paid for the trip, accommodation, and I got pocket money so that was cool.”

There was general consensus among the women approached by Wits Vuvuzela that varsity “boys” were inadequate. Another medical student, who asked not to be named, went so far as to describe campus men as “idiots” and “immature”.

“Res boys are broke and immature. Ain’t nobody got time for that.” She said there was a general misconception that sugar babies were dim-witted and poor, but she was neither.

“Quite frankly, there are a lot of us and we get good grades. Maybe because we don’t have to worry about money,” she said, laughing. “I don’t regret my choice in having a papa bear. There are certain things I need in my life that they can give me.”

“People liken having a papa bear to prostitution, but it’s different. These men are paying for my time and, quite frankly, I don’t mind selling my time.”

She said she wouldn’t date a varsity boy, but some of the “others” had boyfriends from Wits and surrounding colleges.

Asked where they scooped their papa bears, all the women approached said it was either through the WeChat app, or by seeing a blog on Tumblr, which explained how to find a “mutually beneficial” relationship.  They admitted it initially took a sizeable investment in their own appearance.

“When we go out to, like, Rosebank and Sandton, you have to make sure you look really good and expensive. You teach people how to treat you so, if you treat yourself like a million bucks, people will do that too,” Mohlala said.

She activated WeChat in Sandton because that was her target market. “I’d never download WeChat and do it here in Braam [fontein], never. Braam is filled with students and broke niggas. Not my type.”

SUGAR?:  Photo lifted from website.

SUGAR?: Photo lifted from a website where women can find sugar daddies. Young women have opted for a “papa bear” to lead an extravagant life.

When the app is installed, it shows people who are close to you. One party initiates a connection and the other must accept the contact to start a conversation.

According to a number of websites for potential sugar daddies, these men tend to be specific about what they are interested in and are very particular about the kind of girl they want. “Youth, fun and a voracious sexual appetite” appear to be major pluses.

“I am very naughty but always in a nice way,” according to HANKAFB, a financial director. “I like to make a woman feel special yet drive her wild. I am looking for no strings fun to start with … and the dark fruit.”

He finds it worth mentioning that his net worth is well over R2-million and that he is willing to spend up to R20 000, plus gifts, on his chosen sugar baby.

Gentle Gentleman advertises himself this way: “I’m self-employed, young at heart, still love partying and haveing [sic] fun and love to get laid. Sorry very blunt I know.

“I’m married with two children and all is calm in the housing situation.”

In fact, a large number of potential sugar daddies on these sites admit to being married and still living with their spouses.