Interview
Courtesy of Mashudu Modau

INFLUENCED: Meet Mashudu Modau—the Podcaster that Entrepreneurs Revere

This young South African influencer and his podcast network Lutcha, are changing the entrepreneurship game.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Mashudu Modau was born-and-raised in Soweto and is a young South African influencer who's using social media to help anyone who's interested in becoming an entrepreneur or establishing a start-up. Modau insists on staying in his own corner and simply focusing on the impact that he can have on his fellow South Africans. At just under 11 000 followers on Twitter, that's quite a number of people who're joining him in that same corner.

Modau founded a podcast network called Lutcha, a platform for African podcasters, comprising of five podcasts which speak to entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, mental health and fitness. The host of the MASHSTARTSUP podcast, Modau focuses specifically on entrepreneurs that have excelled and that are still starting out on their entrepreneurial journey as well.

Describing himself as an "eco-driven specialist, youth entrepreneur and part-doctor" he wears a number of titles but his passion and work center on the start-up space. Modau attributes his childhood curiosity to igniting the spark and eventual interest in business and when asked by MarkLives in a recent interview, whether he feels entrepreneurs are born or made, he said, "Entrepreneurs are made. In the fire. Literally. It's a process of constantly and consistently testing, learning, failing and starting over. Over and over again."

We caught up with him to talk about why he does what he does, the key lessons he's learnt from social media and what his bigger picture is.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


How would you say social media has catapulted your brand or your podcast specifically?

I wouldn't exist without it. It's that simple. I don't see any other way in which I could get all my impact, get all the work that I do without social media. I started on Facebook, sharing as much as I could about incubators, about different resources you could use, about accelerators, all those different things and Facebook turned into Twitter, Twitter turned into Instagram, turned into a website, turned into a podcast which turned into a YouTube channel. It really does begin with social media and we constantly use social media to amplify our message and get it out there even more.

I don't think someone like me would survive in traditional media where the metrics for what makes you a good person to be on those platforms are very different to what the internet is. That's what the internet really is for me.

"The internet is the equalizer, you are in a fair market where you are open to compete with the best of the best, that's the biggest thing."

How would you describe the reception that you have had on social media?

It's very, very interesting. I think a lot of people are just grateful for the resources that I provide but they've always been there; they've always been public. I'm always just focused on making sure that people also stay focused. The one thing about entrepreneurship, is that the stuff that really matters looks really boring. My thing was, "Let's simplify this and make it something that people want to really engage with." Whether it's a Twitter thread on whatever sort of resource that is available or a podcast or video that people want to engage with.

In a recent radio interview, the guy who interviewed me called me a teacher. I didn't understand what that meant, then I looked at everything I've been doing and have done. In a way that is really what I'm doing, it's teaching but teaching in the millennial way, where you're really creating the resources that people can consume, the way they want to consume it as well.

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What would you say have been the challenges or even threats that social media has presented to you and your brand?

I think an interesting sort of challenge is possibly the lack of respect for copyright, there is no respect for originality and sometimes no respect for value. You can work on something that really, really has a lot of insight, a lot of learning and could really help people, but they won't pay attention because they don't feel like it was presented the way they wanted it—it wasn't "pretty".

The other element of it is a lot of people stealing content and literally just trying to copy and paste and become the new version of whatever I was doing. I've seen different things where people just copy and paste, whether it was podcasts or anything else really. As disheartening as it was, this is the world we live in now, so you just need to constantly and consistently compete.

Do you think that people underestimate the power of social media, even today?

Absolutely. I think a lot of brands and corporates don't understand how much more the platform can become for them. Also a lot of people are underestimating how bad they can be. There is a lot of good and a lot of bad and if you overestimate any one of them, you could really go in a bad direction. There are governments that need to be way more understanding of how powerful that platform can be for them and what they can rally do for them. I think we are only at the beginning of this and where it goes in the next five to ten years will possibly direct where humans sort of progress.

Using these platforms in the right way in order to encourage, debate or whatever, is a good thing and we need to constantly and consistently be conscious of how we use it to empower, educate and encourage people.

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People have referred to social media at times as a never-ending echo chamber. How do you get past all of the noise that social media can present at times?

Honestly, I'm not on social media for any other reason than to add value and that's the biggest thing. I honestly always think of myself as sitting in the corner and shouting out random things every now and then while everyone is having an argument in the middle of the room. So my thing is, while people are sort of arguing about this and that, my thing is, here's some information that could help.

Among the critics, the bullshit and the noise, it's really about offering value, offering resources, offering lessons, offering motivation, whatever it is. It's about giving of myself to really help things move forward and really doing that in my little corner. I think there are a lot more people joining that little corner that are going, "You know what? I don't want to just get into your life or I don't want to just meet you but I would like to change your life."

It's never been a game of, "Can I get this many followers so I can get this brand to look at me?" That's never been the game and it will never be the game. For me, the game is always positive value and positively impacting people's lives.

What would be some of your "pro tips" on influencing or thought leadership on social media?

Find your corner, find your voice and stick to it. I think the one thing that is really going away from social media is independent voices and also authenticity as well. I think the reality of what social media is pushes you toward pandering as a trend and constantly speaking about what's being spoken about. It's like I said with the analogy of standing in the corner while everyone is standing in the middle of the room, shouting at each other.

"So while everyone else is chasing likes and followers and retweets, my whole thing is that I'm going to offer value."

I think it's always about offering value and standing in your corner and being very true to the voice that you have, the voice that you've developed and the voice that you constantly want to shout out to the world.

Who are some of your favorite people who are in a similar space in terms of what you do?

I'd say one person is Karen Williams who runs The Throne. She is a brilliant person for the digital age and I think she is really building something that can be one of the most amazing, interesting companies for the future.

Another thing is obviously I love Yoco because its Yoco and one of the most interesting and remarkable startups to come out of South Africa and it's going to come out of Africa as one of the most interesting things that anyone's done. The impact of what they're doing is going to be so amplified.

I would also say Joe Human, who is a podcaster on our network. He focuses on branding and marketing but his whole thing is, "I want to speak, I want to try and add value and teach a lot of people." Also, Juanita Khumalo is amazing. She does wellness and health her focus is really just to help people live better lives.

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Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images

8 Queer-Owned African Fashion Brands to Check Out For Pride

In honor of pride month, we highlight eight African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

In the last decade, there have been an emergent of fashion designers who aren’t just queer but have aligned their fashion vision with their identity, creating demystifying collections and criss-crossing their concepts and ideologies to represent the inscape of non-conformity, fluidity, queerness and androgyny — whilst maintaining a quick balance with their cultural roots. Despite the numerous fabric experimentations and collections, these designers never forget to tell stories that align with them, especially those that resonate with queer people in queer unfriendly countries.

In honor of pride month, OkayAfrica highlights 8 African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

Rich Mnisi

South African designer Rich Mnisi is part of a new wave of designers putting African stories on the global map. Founded in 2015, the brand Rich Mnisi is immersed at offering fluid expression to gender, celebrating youthful excellence and exploring extremist design elements with minimalist cultural tailoring. For pride month, the brand released a limited edition capsule titled “Out." The capsule visualizes a fine-line between elegance and fluidity whilst boldly emphasizing on the act of struggle and resilience as an outfit.

Udiahgebi

For a fashion brand like Udiahgebi, identity is very important. And offering that form of visibility to femme queer Nigerians is not just a form of visual activism but a detailed story of essence. The brand was founded by Emerie Udiahgebi, a gender non-forming fashion designer who wanted to give queer, non-binary and non-conforming individuals more options to express themselves fashionably. Udiahgebi’s fashion concept is extremely bold, fierce, and unconventional.

Lagos Space Programme

Designer Adeju Thompson fuses traditionalist concepts with genderless possibilities. Founded in 2018, Lagos Space Programme is a gender-neutral fashion brand that enveloped aesthetic designs using local craftsmanship. The brand appreciates West African unique fabric and communicates compelling stories of identity, gender and queerness — a ideology that has garnered them not just audience but earned them a spot at the LVMH prize.

Muyishime

Patrick Muyishime is a fashion innovator. Not only does he know how to source excellent fabrics but his designs are authentically vibrant. Founded in 2016, Muyishime is a Kenyan fashion label that introduces conversations surrounding androgynous and explores aesthetically fabric inventions that commands fluidity, feminine wiles and constructive elegance.

Bola Yahaya

Founded in 2019, Bola Taofeek Yahaya's fashion label aligns thought provoking pieces that elevate the discusses around queer representation, sexuality and feminity. The brands merges sustainability and explore eccentric fabric experimentations.

Nao Serati

Founded by South African designer Nao Serati Mofammere in 2014, the fashion brand Nao Serati explores the versatility of gender and the fine margin of sexuality whilst finding its balance with their South African heritage. Mofammere wants his brand to explore masculinity and the different ways it takes to wear a fragile look.

Vangei

Lolu Vangei has different recipes to gender fluidity and she has used fashion to express that. Founded in 2018, Vangei is a fashion label that unites modern ideology of afro-centricism to produce pieces that dismantle cliched ideas about gender.

Mayetobs

There is no explaining the sort of talent Emmanuel Tobiloba possesses. Founded in 2020, Mayetobs' eccentric approach in reinstating androgynous norms is interesting. From oversized pants that speaks of fabric maximalism to fast flowing robes, the fashion brand is an ode to redefining modern masculinity.

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Photo Credit: Screengrab from Ìfé

The 10 Best African LGBTQ+ Films to Watch This Pride Month

From lesbian love stories to documentaries about South African queer love, here is a list of LGBTQ+ films to watch for Pride month.

Historically, LGBTQ+ films have never been in the mainstream in countries around Africa, mainly because of the intolerance of the various film industries around the continent.

However, over the past decade, there has been progress, with significant representation of LGBTQ+ people on screen. These examples come mostly from independent filmmakers within several countries in the continent. But it hasn't been easy. Throughout Africa, there have been laws that not only ban these films but put a jail term that punishes the filmmakers who have put efforts to produce a nuance story of the lived experiences of queer people in films.

To celebrate the efforts of these filmmakers and to acknowledge these thought provoking stories that are inspired from the realities of LGBTQ+ individuals, OkayAfrica put in a list on the 10 LGBTQ+ films to watch for Pride month.

Braids on a Bald Head (2010)

Braids on a Bald Head is an award-winning Nigerian film directed by Isahaya Bako. It tells the story of a submissive wife who does everything for her husband. But having a new neighbor, who is much different from her, begins to change her perception. When things in her marriage get sour, she finds the strength to ask for better treatment after an experience that makes her question her sexuality.

Difficult Love (2010)

Zanele Muholi’s power as an artist and activist is beyond this planet. Difficult Love introduces us to Muholi’s life, while capturing the lives of several Black lesbians and their lived experiences in South Africa.

Coming out of the Nkuta (2011)

Coming out of the Nkuta tells the tale of a Cameroonian defense attorney who boldly defends arrested queer folks. The heartbreaking documentary speaks about the situation in Cameroon and the LGBTQ community who live in great fear.

Stories of Our Lives (2014)

Created by an art collective in Nairobi called The Nest Collective, Stories of Our Lives details the lived experiences of queer people in Kenya. The movie is an anthology that features five short films.

While You Weren’t Looking (2014)

While You Weren’t Looking aligns queerness with race and speaks on the struggle of queer women in South Africa. Twenty years after apartheid, two lesbian couples who live in Cape Town get separated. While they explore their different lives apart, their adopted daughter gets caught up in her own world, exploring her bi-sexuality. Her dilemma? She isn’t black enough — something her girlfriend helps her navigate.

Reluctantly Queer (2016)

Akosua Adoma Owusu'sReluctantly Queer, an eight minute short film, tells the story of a young Ghanaian man who struggles to keep two personal-contrasting factors balanced: his love for his mother and his sexuality.

The Wound (2017)

Directed by John Trengove, The Wound is a powerful movie that navigates masculinity. The movie is centered around a group of young boys from South Africa who get sent to a rural, remote camp where they will be initiated into manhood, in various ways.

We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2018)

We Don’t Live Here Anymore centers on two teenage boys who are caught in a romantic scandal that turns into tragedy. The film shows the reality of the class divide that exists in Nigeria and the capitalist hypocrisy that is accompanied with it.

Ìfé (2020)

Ìfé is a fascinating film that shows the intimacy between two queer women. The movie uses dialogue to tell the story of two women navigating a homophobic society. Written and directed by Uyaiedu Ike-Etim — and produced by Pamela Adie — the 37- minutes film communicates love and family.

Country Love (2022)

Wapah Ezeigwe's Country love is a story about two men who, after years of being apart, rekindle their love. But everything doesn’t go as planned. In the end, one is wafting for continuity, the other pirouettes away because of societal perception towards queerness. The film is a joyful celebration of the femme identity and communicates themes like departure, homophobia and the frill of belonging.

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Photo courtesy of Vinyl Me, Please.

The Story of Zamrock: Zambia's 1970s Fuzz Rock Sound

Get to know the musical and political history behind Zambia's much-talked about 1970s fuzz rock scene and genre.

Zamrock was born in 1970s Zambia out of influences from James Brown's funk and Jimi Hendrix's acid guitar.

In recent years, the fuzzed-out and psychedelic Zamrock sound has been turning heads with vinyl reissues from some of its pioneering bands, the latest of which comes in the repressing of the Vinyl Me, Please anthology The Story of Zamrock, originally released in 2020.

Put together in conjunction with with Now Again Records and Strawberry Rain Music, VMP's Zamrock anthology will consists of eight albums from seminal Zamrock groups Witch, Amanaz, 5 Revolutions, Ricky Banda, Ngozi Family, Oscillations, Fireballs, and Crossbones.

VMP initially shared the anthology with an accompanying mini-documentary The Story of Zamrock! The Zambian Rock Sound 1972-1978, which takes a look at the genesis of the sound, the people behind it, and the sociopolitical events that shaped it. It features rare interviews with members of Amanaz, Oscillations and Crossbones.

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Photo by Guillermo Gutierrez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dozens of African Migrants Killed At Morocco/Spain Border

Thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets to protest the brutal treatment of those attempting to cross into North African city Melilla this week.

At least 37 African migrants were beaten to death by Spanish authorities for attempting to cross into Morrocco/Spain bordering city Melilla this week. Around 2,000 migrants camped out in the Moroccan mountains and ultimately made their descent on the city's border last week Friday. They were met with unnecessary brutality, as the Moroccan border guards threw tear gas, and crushed and beat those who made it across. Both the African Union and United Nations have condemned the violence, as supporters within Spain protest for those lost.

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