“Loxion Kulca is the hottest brand to be seen worn on today’s streets, created back in 1997 by Sechaba Mogale and Wandi Nzimande, inspired by the urban ‘kulca’ (culture) and past history of the ‘loxion’ (locations/townships)”.
“At some stage this brand became bigger than us. It had a different meaning to different people. To us it was a means to an end while to some people it gave them belief and others created music with it. Some people even thought we were a political party,” Nzimande said.
However, the hype surrounding Loxion Kulca soon faded, and its merchandise was difficult to find on shelves. What did our people do? They ditched our only black-owned South African brand at the time. Together with the rich and well affording of our people, instead of upholding and assisting to uplift the brand by continuing to show unwavering support for it and pump in the necessary resources, they rather decided on instant gratification. Let me quickly zoom in to who are the rich and well affording, as well as why are they exclusively mentioned as catalysts. But before that, I’d like to address a specific phenomenon which is “INSTANT GRATIFICATION”.
South Africans at large are notorious for immediate gratification. What is immediate or instant gratification you ask? As we tackle this question, it is important to note that INSTANT GRATIFICATION is closely aligned to impulsivity; the tendency to choose a small reward now at the expense of a larger reward later or alternatively, impulsivity can mean avoiding a small punishment now in exchange for a big punishment later (http://www.souldirected.com/pig.php). “Instant gratification is a passionate enemy of wealth. It is a direct enemy of fortitude and patience” – Prof. Dlamathambengqondo. Hold that thought!
So, who are the rich and well affording? I’m so glad you asked! The “rich” in this context refers to the black tycoons of South African society e.g. your Patrice Motsepes’, Lebo Mgunguluzas’, Vusi Thembekwayos’, Tokyo Sexwales’, Kenny Kunenes’ Robert Gumedes’ etc. These are powerful individuals who can amongst many other important roles, play the part of a defender in a football match.
When all others have failed to snatch the ball back from our opponent, the defender becomes the last man standing before the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper in this instant would be the founders of course, who pray that the defender would somehow show up to rescue an imminent goal against their beloved team. These “powerful individuals” could attempt to rescue a suffering black owned South African brand, especially after showing signs of success at the beginning. This could have been a noble act from this class of individuals.
What about the well affording; who are they? These are essentially the celebs and socialites. Why am I mentioning them? Firstly, a celebrity sits on the seat of unprecedented influence. And in any field of engagement, you and I know that influence is everything be it in politics, religion, tradition, and even in general social engagements, influence is an integral component in pretty much every respective engagement.
Our celebrities and socialites have the power to “culturize” or influence our society in a specific way, whether good or bad. They can instil new ways of thinking either constructive or destructive. They have the means of introducing a new way of seeing oneself or should I say a new way of how we see ourselves as a society. Public figures are the most powerful entity South Africa has above politicians to date. This is especially evident on various social media platforms.
From the above remarks, one can see what significant roles both these classes of individuals could play in promoting black businesses, in particular those that took a bold step to venture into otherwise unpopular spaces such as attempting to run a black owned clothing line. This wouldn’t be asking for anything beyond their means seeing that these classes of individuals are already doing a good job promoting foreign brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Versace and so on.
Here is the point I am driving through. Our celebrities depend on their South African fans in order for them to make a living. These fans spend their hard-earned income just to please celebrities and support their careers in the process. On the other hand, these celebrities take that money out of the country to buy goods that their fans can’t even afford. They enrich the already rich!!!
For example, in 2014 Louis Vuitton had an employment base of 121 289 and none of them were black South African; at least not that I know of. In 2017 alone Louis Vuitton made a revenue of $9.9 BILLION. In Rands this would amount to one hundred and twenty-four billion Rands, four hundred and sixty-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, eight hundred and twenty-five i.e. R124 469 999 825 and none of this revenue can be said to have benefited any of our South African people. Not even the ones that buy Louis Vuitton with their fan-base generated money to flaunt it got any financial rewards from those proceeds Louis Vuitton made.
Is it time South Africans repent? Is it time South Africans support and love their own? Is it time South Africans stopped seeing an effort to produce something locally as an absurd and unintelligent move? Isn’t it time the rich and well-affording supported and loved our own products like it has become common practice for the likes of DJ Sbu? Isn’t it time our politicians put their money where their mouth is and start practicing the Radical Economic Transformation that they so often preach by buying South African brands rather than buying foreign products and radically transforming foreign economies instead?
Is it time we recall the words of Dr. Kamilos Kasala of the Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre when he said: “What is logical in Africa is not always practical, what is practical is not always right, what is right is not always ethical, what is ethical is not always desired, what is desired is not always logical. – paraphrased..
Even though Dr. Kamilos made this statement in relation to African politics, in retrospect, there is no doubt that the same can be ascribed to the minds of Africans in general. Vuka Afrika! Vuka muntu onsundu!
~ written by Simphiwe Ngcobo, business consultant and public speaker.