News

Style: The Ninevites Gang 'Same Old Shirt Collection'

We highlight new South African fashion brand The Ninevites Gang, inspired by the legendary Jo'burg band of robbers.

All photography by Kent Andreasen.

The Ninevites Gang – made up of Nkuli Mlangeni, Uma Ramiah and Leila Khalifa – derive their moniker from a legendary quasi-military band of robbers which wreaked mayhem on the streets of Johannesburg during the late 19th and early 20th century. Led by the young Zulu migrant Muzephi “Nongoloza" Mathebula who had journeyed to the mining town from the countryside in search of wage labour, The Ninevites styled themselves as a gang of anti-establishment outlaws; taking their cue from the biblical story of the city of Nineveh which rebelled against God. “I selected that name for my gang as rebels against the Government's laws," Nongoloza latter recounted after his capture.


The legend of Nongoloza and his posse of robbers, entangled as it is with myth and fact, provided the intellectual spark for The Ninevites Gang's first showcase Same Old Shirt Collection. Rebelling against the aesthetics of high-end glossy magazines the trio, in their own words, have stolen the classic t-shirt design and “made it bigger, shapeless, […] updated the fabric and added details to turn it into something fresh".

Cape Town-based 30-year-old designer Nkuli Mlangeni said for months she had been mulling on the idea of a limited T-shirt range inspired by Basotho blanket graphics. “I started spending too much time in fabric shops and that's where I discovered a whole lot of other cool stuff and started toying around with different ideas" she said; “and the next minute I was on my way to Lesotho with a crew of people, the rest of the Ninevites Gang together with filmmaker Johno Mellish and photographer Kent Andreasen, going on a fashion documentation mission". The rest, as they say, is history. See more pictures below.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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