Slice of Life: Searching for ‘dapper guys in townships’, the black kind

“My mother and grandmother were big into fashion. They were real fashion-heads. So I guess it’s kind of encrypted in me. But it was in high school that I fell in love with fashion. I was in Grade 11 and wanted a look that would take me anywhere and everywhere. I was quite the athlete. I was into sport and used to play soccer, but I wanted to move away from the tracksuit-type of style.

I was like: ‘Nah man, this is not the life I want to live’. I wanted to dress up every day – to look good every day. I wanted something that was going to be me, but elegant at the same time.

I always loved my formal pieces, but would only wear them on a Sunday or when I was going out. And when I started wearing them more, my friends would be like: ‘Man, you’re killing it.’

I started modeling but realised I wanted to be behind the scenes. So I started studying photography and decided to start blogging. My blog is about dapper guys from the townships where I come from – guys who dress in a more gentlemanly way. No izikhothane vibes.

We don’t have that kind of content. You do a Google search for ‘dapper guys in townships’, and Google will probably take you to some white content. It’s hard to find content about us, about our style.

Now I’m hoping to collaborate. Not just with people who think this is cool but with visionaries; people who want to change the game. I want to create a true insight into black creativity and black style. I want us to be wild about our culture, and really make it work for us.”

Siphamandla Dlamini (24) as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow fellow at the Mail & Guardian

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Carl Collison
Carl Collison
Carl Collison is a freelance journalist who focuses primarily on covering queer-related issues across Africa

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