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The Influencer's Insight: Kamo Mafokwane Is the South African Content Creator Pushing Brands To Value Influencers

The final feature in our four-part series highlights Kamo Mafokwane—the South African fashion and beauty blogger who's steadfast in developing her craft.

"The Influencer's Insight" is our four-part series for April's theme "The Hustle." The series features women content creators who've achieved influencer status through their social media platforms. These influencers will give their insight on how they built their brand, challenges they've faced, influencer marketing tips and more.

The final part of the series features Kamo Mafokwane of fashion and beauty blog, WILLKATE. ICYMI, read part three here.


WILLKATE's Kamogelo Mafokwane is the content creator offering her perspective on luxury fashion and beauty. The London in which she resides provides her with daily inspiration. From street style to art and from design to architecture, the city serves as a melting pot that serves as the perfect backdrop for creativity. The South Africa she calls home is notorious for its vibrant and bold flair. The merging of the two allows for content that is widely popular. "Inspiration lies everywhere and anywhere," Mafokwane says. "It's in the small things like an interesting color or texture in a vegetable in the grocery store."

WILLKATE began as a spontaneous passion project in 2013 during her first year at London's College of Fashion, where she pursued a bachelors in creative direction. With every year that passed, her "hobby" became more and more serious. Presently, she's graduated and dedicates all her time to her ever-growing brand. She's even expanded into the realms of travel, interior decor and lifestyle. Her hands in many pots helps to halt creative blocks.

Photo courtesy of Kamo Mafokwane.

Contrary to popular belief, the introvert says her job isn't as glamorous as it seems. Where some weekdays are comprised of meetings, sourcing clothes for shoots, and running into coffee shops to change, 98 percent of her time is spent in no makeup and sweats editing and responding to emails. Her dedication to her craft hasn't gone unnoticed. Mafokwane's clean and crisp aesthetic has landed her work with Cartier, Wolford, Topshop, and IWC Schaffhausen. Making great content, however, is "in you. Creativity can't be forced. You have to put time and effort in versus just posting," she says.

When speaking with Mafokwane, it's evident she has unwavering faith and knowledge of self. She states, "God has gotten me where I am." All her mornings start with prayer and she is guided by her blog's namesakes, her late father and grandmother. She prefers working with women because "they understand me easier." She's driven and weaves stories for brands using both her instinct and heart. "On stage in front of 1,000 people," she'll do great but, "at someone's intimate gathering with strangers," she won't say a word.

The content creator flourishes in an industry where, "Brands don't [always] value [blogger] influence."

Photo courtesy of Kamo Mafokwane.

"One business model does not apply to each blogger," she continues. "Influence is not just about number of followers. Brands should look into engagement." Despite companies adhering to spending undisclosed amounts, "Time, work, and quality goes into the work we produce so we have to be selective," she says. Mafokwane has her sights set on Dior and FWRD—and there's no doubt in our minds she will conquer these brands and more.

Here are three more lessons Kamo Mafokwane has taken away from her journey as a content creator:

  1. You don't have to be friends with everyone: "It's ok if everyone doesn't support, you will get where you need to get to eventually."
  2. You don't have to share with everyone: "When telling your friends and family about your work, it can seem like you are bragging. I don't discuss it with them."
  3. Learn to say no: "Don't compromise your morals and values for a paycheck or to work with a brand."

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

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Photo courtesy of Shekudo.

Made In Africa: Shekudo Is the Accessories Brand Putting Nigerian Craftsmanship & Artisans First

Shekudo founder Amy Akudo Iheakanwa speaks in-depth on the challenges of relaunching her brand in Nigeria and more.

Shekudo is the brainchild of Nigerian-Australian designer Amy Akudo Iheakanwa. She uses textiles to create luxurious accessories that draw women in. Where Nigeria offers her her aesthetic, her Australian background contributes to the way she markets her free, easy-going products. Produced in Lagos, Shekudo prides itself on local artistry and social responsibility. It's purpose is to employ artisans and expose the craftsmanship that is alive and well in Nigeria.

Iheakanwa co-founded the brand with Shetu Bimpong but is now the sole creative director, and the February repositioning of the Shekudo has been critical. The brand is now backed by inspiring and necessary narratives of all sorts. It is the story of a founder who has embarked on a journey of self-discovery. It is the story of finding inspiration in the kaleidoscope of colors found in the bustling city that is Lagos. It is the story of Nigeria's 500-year-old aso oke process. It is the story of the number of hands that contribute to making a shoe, bag, or earring from scratch and a community of weavers, silversmiths, shoemakers and carpenters.

Though in its early stages, Iheakanwa has great plans to expand her production and incorporate community through training and capacity building for destitute women with limited options and skills available to them. With today's African diaspora serving as the frontrunners of cultural influence, brands like this one can only shine.

We sat down with the founder of Shekudo to learn more about the brand.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo courtesy of Vanessa Azar.

The Influencer's Insight: Vanessa Azar Is the Beauty Blogger Challenging French Brands To See Black Women

Our third feature in this four-part series highlights Vanessa Azar—the Cameroonian beauty blogger and businesswoman who does it all.

"The Influencer's Insight" is our four-part series for April's theme "The Hustle." The series features women content creators who've achieved influencer status through their social media platforms. These influencers will give their insight on how they built their brand, challenges they've faced, influencer marketing tips and more.

The third part of the series features Vanessa Azar of beauty blog, Vanessa's Secrets. ICYMI, read part two here.

Vanessa Azar is the Cameroonian-Lebanese beauty content creator behind her blog, Vanessa's Secrets.

What's her secret, you ask? Triumphing over two distinct adversities: the loss of her mother and a period of severe depression brought on by terrible bullying. The details behind the latter are reserved for a blog post she hasn't quite found the strength to write, but will certainly come with time.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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Stogie T Enlists Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and More, for ‘The Empire of Sheep’ Deluxe Edition

Stream the deluxe version of Stogie T's EP 'The Empire of Sheep' featuring Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and more.

Stogie T just shared a deluxe version of his 2019 EP The Empire of Sheep titled EP The Empire of Sheep (Deluxe Unmasked). The project comes with three new songs. "All You Do Is Talk" features fellow South African rappers Nasty C, Boity and Nadia Nakai. New York lyricist appears on "Bad Luck" while one of Stogie T's favorite collaborators Ziyon appears on "The Making."

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