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Boys Of Soweto Star In A New Fashion Film

Joburg style collective Boys Of Soweto star in a new fashion film collaboration with British menswear brand Ben Sherman, shot by Meja Shoba.

In 2013 we spoke with South African-American writer and director Meja Shoba about the Johannesburg fashion collective known as Boys Of Soweto. Consisting of Bob Ndima, Bonisiswe Nhleko, Morgan Kgobane, and Mbali Bangwayo, the group, which formed in 2011, made their film debut in Shoba's dapper short clip about six well-dressed men who vie for one woman's attention.


Now, the collective and filmmaker have a new collaboration with British menswear brand Ben Sherman and Congolese musician Pierre Kwenders. According to Shoba (who wrote and directed the two-minute Ben Sherman Button Up film), the project was shot in Johannesburg in one day with a cast of 17 guys. "The idea was to make a kind of African collaboration with myself, Boys of Soweto and Pierre Kwenders' music as a soundtrack," she told us over email.

"Conceptually I see Boys of Soweto as a group of stylish men who effortlessly stand out in the crowd," Shoba said. "Keeping in mind that this is a film that surrounds clothing, I utilized color as a method to showcase this. Boys of Soweto wore variations and patterns of red while the rest of our cast wore more bland shades and colors like white, khaki, or grey. Consequently, Boys of Soweto has a bigger entrance as a group to visually communicates their flamboyant nature. I partnered with Bob Ndima with the styling to use color to show a sense of unity with Boys of Soweto, and to simultaneously have each guy display his individual flare in the clothing detail."

Shoba says that since making their short film debut the group has partnered with a number of brands to relay their mission of showcasing their style and the Johannesburg landscape. In 2014 they worked with Palladium Boots on the 'Palladium Explorer Series,' and the collective's brainchild, Bob Ndima (aka Bob the Stylist), is currently designing a series of suits under the Boys of Soweto name.

Watch Boys Of Soweto star in the Ben Sherman Button Up film, shot and written by Meja Shoba with music from Pierre Kwenders, below.

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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