Sole Purpose brings local artists and entrepreneurs together 

Inspired by Ricky Rick’s Cotton Fest, Young creatives give local brands a platform.  

Sole Purpose hosted a pop-up store event, bringing together local artists to perform and local brands to sell their wares at Homeground restaurant, in Braamfontein. 

Pop-up store at the Sole Purpose event and attendees having drinks and socializing.
Photo: Sinazo Mondo

This pop-up store experience was co-founded  by Shaun Nzwakhe Gomeza and Nkhensani Mashimane in December, 2021. “We are an initiative that supports local artists, creatives and entrepreneurs by providing a platform and atmosphere for people to network and socialize,” their website reads.  

The sixth iteration of  Sole Purpose  took place on May 27, 2023. New local brands such as Projext, a clothing brand and Avitality (Born to Move), a gym wear clothing brand popped up for the first time. While clothing brands Deity Artisty art painting , Freak sins, Co lounge and Narty returned to the market. 

The musical talent included Tiller Sax, Lwaazii and Fried.HZ who provided live music throughout the afternoon.   

From left to right, photographer, Dj Alsi Paq and Co-founder of Sole Purpose Nkhensani Mashimane at the deck inside Homeground restaurant.
Photo: Sinazo Mondo

Anelisa Mnyweba (24) who attended the event said:  “I love the local gin brand Egoli, that I just tried for the first time, the music and performances were good and I’ve bought myself a few beautiful items from the local brands.” 

Creative director and owner of Born to Move, Avela Sisilana said, “I love that my brand is being recognised and its name is out there now. It’s been two hours and I haven’t made any sales yet but that’s mainly because my brand is specific as it is gym wear. I’m more here for branding than making sales.” 

Ntsako Ntimane owner of Deity Artisty said, “I started painting four years ago and this is my first time actually putting myself out there, I had my first exhibition with Sole purpose in March this year… I’ve made sales and connections today thanks to Sole purpose.” 

The event continued till late with vendors packing up at 17:00, while the owners, artists and creatives socialized over drinks. The mood quickly moved from chilled to upbeat as local artist, DJ Alsi Paq(22) ushered in the night with Amapiano hits.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Deity Artistry showcasing art work at the pop-up store with attendees admiring. Photo: Sinazo Mondo

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Take a walk on ‘The Wilds’ side 

One of Johannesburg’s most scenic destinations is a nature reserve in the middle of the city – just a stone’s throw away from Wits University. 

The Wilds Nature Reserve (The Wilds) is a 40-acre public park located between Killarney, Parktown, and Houghton. It is known for its tranquil ‘koppies,’ natural waterfalls, indigenous gardens, wildlife, and footpaths leading to breathtaking cityscape skylines.

A mosaic commemorating Sir James Percy FitzPatrick, author of the classic novel Jock of the Bushveld who frequently used the Wilds. Photo: Seth Thorne

In the 1990s extending into the 2000s, The Wilds was seemingly a ‘no-go zone’ due to its notorious reputation of rampant crime, neglect, and overgrowth of vegetation. 

“People stopped coming because of crime,” said Sabelo Matihidi, a coffee shop employee at The Wilds.  

That was until Johannesburg-based artist Patrick Delaney decided to reclaim the park through a community initiative in 2014. While it focused on clearing overgrown vegetation for visibility, the move also allowed locals to keep watch over the space.  

When suspicious activity is noticed by walkers, security is alerted. “We [the community] are the park’s necessary eyes and ears,” said Delaney. 

“Like [The Wilds], Central Park had a serious rough patch…It was notorious for crime and [being] in bad condition, but the community turned it around,” said Delaney.  

Security at the park has also improved significantly in recent years. Security guard Petunia Matemane said: “We will protect this park, we are not scared.”  

This change has not gone unnoticed. “People are coming back to the park,” said Matihidi. “It feels already feels peaceful now.”  

The community also works alongside Johannesburg’s city parks and zoo department (JCPZ) to maintain the grounds. 

Located around 2kms from main campus and just over 1km from education campus, Wits and the Wilds could have a mutually beneficial relationship. As a large historic reserve, with a vast array of indigenous biodiversity and urban architecture surrounding it, the possibilities for research are seemingly endless. 

Students and staff also use the park as a location for study groups, walks, picnics, or to simply clear their minds. “The outdoors is incredibly crucial to your physical and mental well-being – people at Wits should utilize the reserve,” said Delaney. 

There are also often activities such as guided hikes, picnics, and yoga. It is the perfect space for Witsies to visit when wanting an escape from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city.

One of Kudos Kudu’s cousins which was brought to the Wilds by James Delaney . Photo: Seth Thorne

FEATURED IMAGE: View overlooking the Johannesburg skyline from the east Wilds. Photo: Seth Thorne

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GALLERY: Homecoming Weekend in pictures

Wit’s University’s Homecoming Weekend saw non-stop celebrations from Friday, September 2 until Sunday, September 4, 2022. The Wits Vuvuzela team was out and about throughout and these are some of the moments they captured.