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.

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Olympic dreams for 2016

Nicholas Ho, first year BSc, hoped to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics but missed his final chance in March.  He still has a chance to compete in the 2016 Olympics, since he is part of the South African Archery junior training team. “Archery is a kind of hit-and-miss sport. You never see the same person winning a medal two Olympics in a row,” said Ho. “You stand more chances of winning a gold in archery than in other sports such as athletics where there are big names like Usain Bolt.”

Text by Marsha Moodley & Jay Caboz
Photographs by Jay Caboz
Published in Vuvuzela 17th Edition

Wits’ Olympic hopeful, Nicholas Ho, failed to qualify for the London games, but still remains optimistic about representing South Africa in archery.

The first year BSc student said the demands of starting university had prevented him from competing in the African Archery Championships in Morocco in March. He needed to be ranked in the top 32 in that competition in order to qualify. He was writing exams at the time.

Ho had previously taken part in the qualifiers for the Singapore 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, but failed to qualify because he did not rank high enough.

“We competed in a series of head-to-head competitions, where two archers competed against each until one loses. I got eliminated in the first round though.”

Ho, who is currently ranked 57th in the national division, has represented South Africa three times: in Poland, Turkey and America. He still has a chance to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics as he is part of South Africa’s junior archery training team.

Ho told Vuvuzela the training process for archers was quite intense. “An average shooting exercise consists of anywhere from 100 to 110 shots, but in a competitive environment I would shoot about 144 arrows for six to seven hours standing.”

Ho has competed in all sorts of weather conditions: “heat with temperatures of 40 degrees, rain and wind”.
Archery was a costly sport, he said. His bow cost R30 000, with individual arrows costing R300 each. “I am funded by my mom, but I do receive some funding from Archery South Africa and Wits Sports.”
Although archery was not a paying sport, he said he did it because he had a passion for it. “I have been playing since I was nine.”

marsha@witsvuvuzela.com
jay@witsvuvuzela.com