Your Cool Kid for the week is Nkululeko Mahlangu known as Leka , a black entrepreneur in fashion who believes South Africa is the New York of Africa but does not behave like it.

MEET 23-year-old Nkululeko Mahlangu, also known as Leka, a self-styled “black entrepreneur in fashion”. The eldest of three siblings, Leka is a brand ambassador and a stylist for Busani The Cut, a custom suit-making company. Leka has a background and formal training in dramatic arts which he started studying at school. He identifies more as an artist through fashion, Contemporary jazz and Performance poetry. He says he loves the idea of poetry because “the audience is able to touch and taste what you say”. Leka holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Economics and says although his heart is in fashion, art and poetry, his parents encouraged him to pursue a BSc because of the job security associated with the degree. He says he finished his degree because he realized that art in South Africa is not significantly valued and it becomes difficult to sustain a career through it.

Leka believes that black people need to move into a space where they are able to build, consume and manufacture their own brands. Leka regards South Africa as the “New York of Africa”, but believes the country does not behave like it. He wishes to change this through his work by educating South Africans about fashion and creating spaces for others to build their own brands. Leka wants to expand his passion into a house of brands for the betterment of, primarily the financial stability and financial freedom of black people with the intent of passing it to generations to come.

You’ll find Leka at Exclusive Books once a month reading biographies of South African greats such as Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela. He’s currently reading Neville Alexander’s Thoughts on the New South Africa. Leka works at a leading investment bank but when in Braamfontein or Newtown you are likely to bump into him at a theatre performing or watching a play, or styling young professionals and students.