feature: afropunk contributor honey makwakwa shows us johannesburg’s thriving creative community

February 2, 2016

Johannesburg used to be known as the city of gold, but with the mining industry singing its siren song Joburg’s creative economy is thriving under its own currency; Collaboration.

By Honey Makwakwa*, AFROPUNK contributor
At the opening of a project funded by the British arts council at the now (very unfortunately) closed Ithuba arts Gallery  in Braamfontien, I happened upon a conversation between Kazim Rashid and Dj Doowap. I soon discovered Rashid had, at some point, been seeking out Moonchild Sanelly for a collaboration with an artist he was working with in the UK in 2014. The project in question had long been put to bed.  But since I work with Moonchild at POST POST Music, I introduced Rashid to Tshepang Ramoba, Moonchild’s producer, who was just an arms length from us regardless. The whole conversation sparked my imagination with regard to how the creative industry is using collaboration to leverage projects as the importance of major labels fades with the continued rise of the internet.

Moonchild (left) wears: Moonchild cultwear onesie, Puma select sneakers
Tshepang wears: Half Wolf Tshirt
Kazim Rashid (right) wears: his own bomber and Tshirt with Puma sweatpants

​BLK JKS drummer, Tshepang Ramoba ventured into music production with Moonchild Sanelly’s critically acclaimed electro ghetto funk debut Album Rabulapha. His agency; POST POST music has since added new artists to its stable. Pictured here is Tshepang Ramoba, Moonchild Sanelly and Durban based rapper Robin Thirdfloor. Robin came onto Tshepang’s radar via Facebook and the two began working together long before they met in person.

Moonchild wears: Sara Baartjies breathless blouse over uNomabutho leatherette Bikini
Tshepang wears: Half Wolf Cap, Puma t-Shirt underneath Puma bomber vest with Puma chinos
Robin wears: Augustine Hat, his own glasses, Puma Jacket with his own watch and jeans

​Post Post’s trio of signed artists from Left to right Elo, Robin Thirdfloor and Moonchild Sanelly are keen collaborators, working together in studio and also embarking on a regional tour through Southern Africa this beginning this February. They will also be showcasing at a selection of international festivals including SxSW.

Elo (left) wears: Machere metallic dress with Puma sneakers
Robin Thirdfloor (centre) wears: Augustine bomber jacket with Mr Price Chinos
Moonchild (right) wears: Moonchild Cultwear dress with Puma sneakers

​In 2015 Elo (centre) released her debut single ”stare” through POST POST music. The single hit home for music lovers across the world, garnering response from the USA to Japan. “Stare” was produced by Tshepang Ramoba (left) and features fellow BLK JKS bandmate Mpumi Mcata on guitar. Hlubi Vakalisa (right) of the BLK JKS features on Elo’s debut EP Elogram, on the Saxophone.

Tshepang (left) wears: Camo print cap, Tshirt, chinos and sneakers all Puma
Elo (centre) wears: Machere dress, Earrings and necklace worn as bracelet from Piece, shoes by uNomabutho
Hlubi (right) wears: Augustine hat, Augustine Tshirt and Puma Chinos

​The founding members of the BLK JKS Mpumi Mctata, Tshepnag Ramoba and Molefi Makananise continue to work on collaborative projects from their base at the POST POST Music recording studios in New Doornfontien on Johannesburg’s east side.

Mpumi (left) wears: his own hat and shirt with Augustine Trenchcoat, Diesel Jeans and Augustine shoes Tshepang (centre) wears: Simon and Mary hat, Augustine tshirt and bomber jacket, Mr Price chinos and steve madden brogues Molefi (right) wears: Augustine hat and Trenchcoat with Puma chinos and sneakers

​Somewhere in the mid 2000’s Joao Orecchia met The BLK JKS’ Mpumi and Tshepang on the streets of Melville, Johannesburg. It wasn’t long before they were in studio together collaborating on Joao’s album. When Joao wanted to continue the collaboration on the follow up project; he elected that the band should be officially named, and so Motel Mari was born in 2012. The trio also form part of the artist collective JHB Massive.

Tshepang (left) wears: All Puma
Mpumi (centre) wears: his own clothes with Puma sneakers
Joao (right) wears: A suit he commissioned a Ghanaian Tailor to make on his recent trip to Chale Wote with Puma x Vashtie sneakers

Actress and Director Lindiwe Matjikiza and sound artist and musician Joao Orecchia are serial collaborators. From Donkey Child, a production at the Hillbrow theater that challenged many a journalist to think beyond their own stereotypes around the inner city kids who formed the captivating cast and even Lindiwe whom some still strive to box in as SA’s next red carpet export. The pair are part of JHB Massive, the arts collective that successfully crowdfunded their delegations trip to participate in the Chale Wote street festival. There can be many more projects positively anticipated from this team as they continue to defy definition. Lindiwe and Joao both wear ensembles they have commissioned on their travels, working throughout the African Continent. Lindiwe Matshikiza is currently directing a musical, which is co-produced by the BLK JKS and librettist Mkhululi Mabija. “Mongezi” is an adaptation of Buchner’s “Woyzeck”. The story bears witness to the title character being called to become sangoma by his ancestors, amid the upheavals of the quick changes taking pace in his personal life. The small mining town Mongezi calls home is swept up in the battles of the mining industry’s wage struggle.

From Left to Right (Front) Tebogo wears: Black quilted Augustine jacket with Matching shorts, Augustine Tshirt, Socks and Sneakers both Puma Hlubi Vakalisa wears: hoodie over cap with chinos and sneakers, all Puma Lindiwe Matjikiza wears: Sara Baartjies Flawless dress, Pitchulk neckpiece with beaded earrings both available from Piece in Rosebank (Back) Molefi Makananise wears: African print Puma bucket hat, Basuthu cape from Piece, Augustine Tshirt, Chinos and sneakers both Puma Tshepang Ramoba wears: Black Leather Jacket from Augustine with Puma Tshirt Mpumi Mcata wears: His own scull cap with Hoodie, Shorts, Socks and sneakers all Puma

Photographer: Lauren Mulligan
Stylist: Honey Makwakwa
Make up: Smartie Oliphant

*Honey Makwakwa is a stylist and storyteller from Johannesburg, South Africa.