Some three to four years ago, when the skhothane culture blew up it was associated with some less than savory things, from burning of money to using any means necessary to get what they want.
Enter Tshepo Pitso, a young man from Soweto, who when the craze began, was the only sane voice among the many who were shouting at the tops of their lungs that this was another case of millennials gone wild.
Pitso is the first to tell you that he had a hard upbringing. He’s also very quick to mention that he funds his lifestyle by working for it, which is the antithesis of what we have all been forced to believe about izikhothane.
His street name is Material Dondada, a name that he says he got in his school going days. Material, comes from his love of beautiful clothes, and how he explained to people who weren’t South Africans and didn’t understand the isizulu colloquial term of izikhothane.
“We decided with my then friends that we would call ourselves the material boys, in order to explain our love for fashion. And that’s how I became Material Dondada,” he said.
Starting the Material Culture umbrella happened by way pure of accident. Pitso would shoot and edit videos of himself and his mates dancing in these expensive clothes, and that started a whole wave of people wanting a piece of the pie.
Now, Material Culture is home to skhothanes from far and wide in the cosmopolitan areas of our cities, and Pitso doesn’t know most of them, but is genuinely pleased that they regard the Material Culture brand as being suitable for their individual brands.
He is now the designer of a specific range of DMD Muracchini apparel, which is known to be popular among skhothanes, and he is part of a brand endorsement deal with grooming brand with Wahl, that has resulted in large billboards that can be seen on the M1 in Johannesburg.
Pitso has also been on several television shows and featured in music videos, all because of his love of style. His great fortunes have not befallen only him, but also the other young men and women that buy into the culture simply by believing.
Pitso is determined to build a culture that celebrates looking good instead of promoting crass materialism. He said for him, what is important is to express himself, live life to the fullest while living responsibly.
When asked whether this is just another fad he said: “How can it be another fad if it’s who I am?"