Blogging has become an immediate and inexpensive platform for talented and imaginative minds in South Africa, to explore their identity and share their creativity with the wider world of the Internet. Bloggers and photographers alike have also shrewdly found a way to capture the attention of international fashion brands. In the case of our expressive subjects below, the likes of Edun and Levi’s have come calling.
But the young men behind I See a Different You are more than just bloggers or photographers. They are conveyors and reinterpreters who have found a visceral way to share their Soweto as they know it.
The Insider talks to one third of the creative trio to get a better sense of who they are and what inspires them.
Tell us about your blog? What was the inspiration behind it?
we decided to tell our own stories, of love, community, creative youth – the stories around us.
The blog’s name is “I see a different you.” It was started in 2011, because growing up in Soweto we realized [that] people have negative views about it. And also, when a person Googles ‘Soweto’ all you find is 1976 June 16 [the day of the Soweto student uprising], poor children and gangster stories. So we decided to tell our own stories, of love, community, creative youth – the stories around us.
How did you all meet each other?
The twins: Innocent and Justice, met [me] in church when I was only 8 years old and we’ve never been separable ever since.
We see ourselves as brothers, blood wouldn’t make us any closer.
Describe a typical day in your lives?
Initially ISADY started off as a blog, and has developed into a business which has been running for the past 3 years. So ISADY has the art side where we have exhibitions, music, fine art – all the things we are a passionate about. The other side being the production company that specializes in film, photography and ideation for brands and clients. See our website www.iseeadifferentyou.co.za for more. Our day is always busy working from the early morning till the late night.
Who or what do you look to for inspiration?
Inspiration is something that comes to you, all you have to do is open your heart and eyes. Because it it is all around us.
What has been a key milestone since you started ‘I See a Different You’?
When we finally became independent as a business.
When we had our first exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, where we showed the people of Japan the other side to Soweto [and] Africa.
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Edun & Levi’s? How did that come about?
We were chosen, recognised alongside 7 other influential artists around Africa to represent the brand ethos (original denim made in Africa) and to photograph the garments.
Why do think there has been so much growth in the blogging sphere in South Africa recently?
The internet is very powerful, it is able to connect, open the world for anybody. So blogging happens to be one of those platforms that allow you to be you in front of an audience.
What advice do you have for local creatives who may be interested in blogging and photography?
Don’t stop asking. The worst answer you could get is a no.
The biggest challenge that we face as creatives are, we are afraid to ask because we are scared of rejection. Don’t stop asking. The worst answer you could get is a no. So ask for advice, ask for help.
Watch Justice Mukheli, Innocent Mukheli, and Vuyo Mpantsha share their story at TedxSoweto in 2012.