Arts + Culture
Photo via Siya Beyile's Instagram page.

5 Episodes from Siya Beyile's Podcast #TheThreadedExchange You Should Listen To

The South African creative's engaging podcast explores the lives of young African entrepreneurs.

"African entrepreneurship" is a topic that has become inescapable in the last few years, from panels at development conferences to aunties telling you to "get creative and start something new" when you complain about the job market.

Siya Beyile's podcast, #TheThreadedExchange, finds a way to makes stories about African entrepreneurship more personal, political, and sometimes even emotional.

Beyile, the founder of the styling consultancy and magazine The Threaded Man, creates a show that feels like listening in to new friends talking about surviving "the industry." His guests are young black South African entrepreneurs, and Beyile is able to create a sense of intimacy on the show because he relates to their struggles. The discussions vary with topics like finding the right investors, African men and depression, romance and entrepreneurship, and how starting a business ages you emotionally.

The show airs every Tuesday on Cliff Central. Guests have included Masonwabe Ntloko, Laduma Ngxokolo, Aphiwe Mkefe, Langa Mavuso, Lulama Wolf, Lerato Kgamanyane and many more.

Here are highlights from five episodes, including some older ones, that show why #TheThreadedExchange is worth listening to.

"I'm Angry with Tshepo the Jean Maker"

This earlier episode features Tshepo Mohlala, the founder of the denim company, Tshepo the Jean Maker. In the episode, Beyile asks Mohlala what has fueled his success. Explaining how his childhood struggles motivated him he says, "Anger is what really drove me to be an entrepreneur." Anger is not the most marketable emotion, and this makes the episode feel less calculated than a story from an entrepreneurship panel. The episode ends on a lighter note as Mohlala talks about other ways his childhood has influenced his work including the story behind his collection "Wenawedwa" which is named after his ex-girlfriend.

Listen to the episode here.

"Amanda Black: Hitting the Right Note"

This recent episode features singer Amanda Black, and you can feel how much Beyile is inspired by Black's work. "I think your music frees people," he says in the middle of the episode and it's clear that he's been meaning to point this out for some time. Instead of a conventional interview about new music the singer is working on, Beyile and Black talk about the complexities of having a public career while trying to grow personally. Though Beyile says he has learned to be careful about speaking too openly about his life and his family, the episode never feels like Black and Amanda are being stingy with talking about their personal struggles.

Listen to the episode here.

"Feed Your Passion"

Beyile's guest in this episode is Luyanda Mafanya, a private chef and food blogger who built her brand on Instagram. Mafanya's story about becoming a chef is charming as she talks about how she would spend hours at the supermarket before turning a corner into an isle with an interesting ingredient. In a moment, a regular shopping trip would be the beginning of a creative new dish. When Beyile asks Mafanya whether it is her age, her gender, or her race that has caused the most hurdles in her career, she explains that not going to culinary school has caused the most difficulty. Mafanya learned how to cook from her grandmother and from tutorials on Youtube, and the show explores the possibilities and limitations of learning a craft online.

Listen to the episode here.

"Guard Your Business"

This is the episode for folks who are waiting to hear entrepreneurs talk more openly about the intersection of politics and business. Inga Khubeka, founder of the interior design agency INDALO, goes on a hilarious rant about the ways that governments refuse to give creatives opportunities. When Beyile asks him what he hates most about being an entrepreneur he says, "If there's a deal happening at the department of education or whatever the case is, they won't take a person who is skilled and talented for such a project. They will take just take a clown because they know someone who is politically affiliated." Khubeka doesn't hold back, making discussions about building a sustainable business that could be dry enjoyable.

Listen to this episode here.

"The Realities of Being a Young Black Female Entrepreneur"

This episode features Charmaine Ngobeni and Amanda Sibiya, the co-founders of the consulting agency, Conte Creatives, and the publication, Conté Magazine. The conversation gets into the politics of being a black female entrepreneur in South Africa as the guests tell stories about inappropriate men in business, navigating friendship with a business partner, and whether the term "Alpha male" should be given a new meaning. Though Beyile and his co-host Joe Nawaya sometimes ask questions that are too predictably gendered, they still try to confront uncomfortable topics that lead to engaging conversations about gender in business relations.

Listen to the episode here.

News Brief

Stormzy Snags His First TV Lead Role in BBC Drama 'Noughts & Crosses'

The series is set in a world where black people are the ruling class, while white people deal with discrimination and prejudice.

Stormzy has landed a lead role in a drama developed by BBC and Roc Nation, Variety reports.

He's set to play Kolawale in Noughts & Crosses, an adaptation of novels from Bajan-British author Malorie Blackman. His character is a newspaper editor and was created solely for the TV series.

Keep reading... Show less

Listen to Ibibio Sound Machine's New Album 'Doko Mien'

A blend of electronic sounds and '70s West African disco.

Ibibio Sound Machine are back with their latest album, Doko Mien.

The UK-based group, fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams, expertly blend electronic sounds with West African influences, taking cues from '70s West African disco.

They just dropped their latest single, "Wanna Come Down," which the band describes as an "infectious jam from the album that mixes disco, '80s electro with English and Ibibio language lyrics." Doko Mien, the title of the group's new album. means "tell me" in Ibibio.

"Music is a universal language, but spoken language can help you think about what makes you emotional, what makes you feel certain feelings, what you want to see in the world," mentions Eno Williams.

Listen to Doko Mien below and catch Ibibio Sound Machine on their North American tour (dates below).

Keep reading... Show less

At Least 60 People Killed In Fatal Bus Collision In Ghana

Several people are mourning the victims as well as the tragic loss of life that has occurred throughout the continent this month.

A head on collision of two buses early Friday morning in the Bono East region of Ghana has killed at least 60 people, according to the AFP.

The fatal accident took place on the Kintampo-Techiman highway in Kintampo—an area just under 300 miles north of Accra—after which one of the buses caught on fire.

The devastating accident has left several others with serious injuries. "Most of the passengers in both vehicles died at the spot. A number of them with varying degrees of injuries have been rushed to hospital," a police spokesperson told BBC Africa.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox