The Foxy Five: The Young, Black & Female Web Series South Africa Needs

A new South African web series by black women for black women follows the lives of five foxy women fighting the system.

October 2015 was an explosive moment for South Africa in which the country’s youth, disillusioned with Rainbow Nation rhetoric, rose up in revolution. For fiction filmmaker and young Cape Town creative, Jabu Nadia Newman, #FeesMustFall sparked the forthcoming web series, The Foxy Five.

The Foxy Five is a squad of five young South African femmes who are plotting the revolution ––Unity Bond played by Duduza Mchunu, Prolly Plebs played by Qiniso van Damme, Blaq Beauty played by Tatenda Wekwatenzi, Femme Fatale played by Qondiswa James and Womxn We played by Nala Xaba. You can expect the team to deliver a humorous yet thoughtful concoction of race, class, gender and sexuality.

“Fees Must Fall was a time when I was feeling very helpless and unable to process how I was feeling,” Nadia Newman tells Okayafrica from her lounge in Woodstock, Cape Town, the creative and restorative melting pot for The Foxy Five. It was also when she felt the most creative. “I was learning about so many new concepts that I’d never understood or heard before, and I was hearing it from people who were my age and who looked like me.”

Duduza Mchunu as Unity Bond. Photo: Jabu Nadia Newman

The show aims to provide a semi-autobiographical lens on intersectional feminism in a post-apartheid context, with a 70s styling edge. “You often see YouTube videos of amazing black feminists explaining things, but I wanted to relay that into a story that people could relate to and understand,” says Nadia Newman.

The cast and crew hope the series’ portrayal of complex identities of black women will resonate with black women in the audience. “We can’t all be one thing, but you realise that [the characters] were written as these archetypes so you can identify those specific elements,” Xaba tells me.

Nadia Newman welcomes collaboration from the digital diaspora. “We’re trying to make the production team solely women and predominantly women of colour, even if you just want to work on one episode or get something on your show reel, come through.” Another way you can support is through crowfunding.

Nala Xaba as Womxn We. Photo: Jabu Nadia Newman

While filming the first episode of the series, the squad was confronted with an actual instance of catcalling during the shoot. “The levels of irony were insane,” says Xaba. “Catcalling is one small thing that supports this whole other system that, yho, really hurts as black women the most. We’re the people whose bodies the world in general feels entitled to do with as they please.” The cast, almost as if an extension of their characters, responded by chasing the man down street.

“South African women and their internal feminism can add so much more to the rest of the world,” says Nadia Newman. “There are real issues that we are dealing with here besides wanting to show our underarm hair.”

“On so many levels, South African feminism is a lot more radical than African-American feminism,” adds Xaba. “And yet when we go online and want to learn about intersectional feminism, we have to follow the vloggers who are African-American.”

Tatenda WekwaTenzi as Blaq Beauty. Photo: Jabu Nadia Newman

The team is in agreement that there’s an undervaluing of how radical African feminism is. They see their work as an authentic South African building block to be added to black feminist discourse such as Beyoncé’s Lemonade. “I know ‘Formation’—that’s it. I’m not even trying to throw shade, because Beyoncé is amazing, she’s so amazing, she’s just not African,” says Wekwatenzi. “I’m all about Lemonade and what it speaks about, but also she is just jumping on the bandwagon, because black consciousness is cool and it’s a trend and it’s cool to be woke and it’s cool to be one with your African-ness now,” adds Mchunu. “We are critical thinkers. And there is nothing wrong with admiring something and critiquing it, because that is what intersectionality is,” explains Nadia Newman.

Two of the cast members were not present for the interview, but that didn’t stop the rest of the team from praising them for their contribution to the discourse of intersectional feminism. “There is something so overtly black feminist about the energy [Qiniso] brings,” says Xaba of her Foxy Five comrade. The sentiment of black women celebrating one another is ubiquitous amongst the five. “[Jabu] brings out this gift in me, my inner Queen,” says Mchunu.

Qiniso Van Damme as Prolly Plebs. Photo: Jabu Nadia Newman

“[One day] we were driving to one of the locations and I started crying because I was like, I’m healing, being a black woman amongst black woman, and being a dark black woman,” shares Mchunu. “I felt like wow, for the first time I’m in a safe space, and I’m in this creative group and making work for other women to feel that too.”

“The only way that this shoot was a success was because of black women,” concurs Nadia Newman.

Check out our exclusive premiere of the pilot episode of The Foxy Five, "I'll Catcall If I Wanna Catcall!" above. Keep up with the series on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and find out how you can support via the show’s crowdfunding page.

Qondiswa James as Femme Fatale. Photo: Jabu Nadia Newman

Photo Credits

Photography: Jabu Nadia Newman

Styling: Grace de Kroon

Custom Designs: Micah-Leigh Richards

Makeup: Mehnaaz Alex

Chaze has got Zambian roots and is currently making the most out of a polyamorous relationship between poetry, photography and documentary filmmaking in Cape Town.

Still from YouTube

Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

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Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

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Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

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.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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