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‘As’gqoke’ – Bafana Mthembu on embracing Bhinca culture through her fashion videos

Bafana Mthembu also known as Eezy Nkabi

  • Soweto-born designer Bafana Mthembu has become an online sensation for posting his unique fashion videos.
  • His alter ego, the Eezy Nkabi, dresses in looks inspired by Amabhinca culture.
  • He talks to us about his love for fashion, creating videos and his future in the content creation space.

“As’gqoke.” It has become a phrase that many online users look forward to hearing every Sunday when Bafana Mthembu popularly known as Eezy Nkabi posts her unique fashion videos on her social media platforms.

In each of the weekly videos, the 30-year-old Soweto-born designer dresses in an outfit that showcases the style of amabhinca – a group of Zulu people who practice their culture by dressing a certain way and wearing listening to Maskandi music. Bafana also takes viewers through clothing from brands such as Jonathan D and Brentwood, which are popular in the bhinca community.

Speaking to TRUELOVE, Bafana says the idea to create her fashion videos was inspired by her love for fashion and her admiration for Bhinca culture.

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“I have always admired the way the amabhinca dress. I have my everyday style, which is cool, interesting and a bit funky. I watched how people were doing their dressing up videos and just wanted to let me dress up as a bhinca but in a way that I can include my everyday style and that’s how it content was born,” he explains.

He tells us more about fashion video making, its alter ego and its future in the content creation space.

What is the planning behind shooting your fashion videos?

If I could tell you that I plan a week ahead and change my mind about the day I have to shoot, you’d think I’m lying. Creativity comes in its own time, but with preparation you can meet any challenge. So the process was always to make sure there was a Brentwood element, the rest sizobona phambili (will happen on its own).

Which video do you think got you noticed and what is the story behind that video?

The first video got me noticed and I just had to be consistent with the drop every Sunday. Well I just wanted to show a look I just saw from a taxi driver and that was it. Think of S’khaleni of Isibaya.

What inspired the name Eezy Nkabi?

The word nkabi means hitman. I’m not a hitman but don’t push me (laughs). The Nkabis are people I used to draw fashion inspiration from when I met them at the Noord and Bree taxi ranks in Joburg, and for me the word NKABI is an abbreviation that stands for Noord Kings And Bree Icons. Eezy was just an add-on when Weezy and Breezy were a thing.

Would you say the bhinca fashion look is your everyday style or just for special occasions?

Reserved for special occasions, the Brentwood pants are high maintenance and I would pass out if I had to take them to the dry cleaners every day.

With so many looks you could have chosen, why did you specifically choose the bhinca style? What do you like?

I’m inspired by the culture and brotherhood of these guys, and I find that when I’m dressed like them, I feel that too. I am called uBhuti (a man) or Baba (father) whenever I wear my nkabi/bhinca outfit and I really appreciate that.

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How do you incorporate modern pieces into the bhinca style?

Style is personal, you know when something suits you and you know makubheda (when it doesn’t). There may be a formula but I can only do my hair, the stylists could think better.

According to you, what are the three essential pieces that one would need to rock the bhinca style?

Brentwood pants are essential and essential. That’s all I can say.

How has your life changed since your videos went viral?

I’m answering these questions for TRUELOVE magazine now, so tell me. Just kidding, well, I’ve been getting calls and enjoying every bit of it, I have to admit.

What future do you see for yourself in the digital and content creation space?

Let’s make money guys, I want 10k to buy McDonald’s (laughs).

What more can we expect from Bafana Mthembu and Eezy Nkabi for the rest of this year?

More videos and where there is an opportunity I will definitely grab it with both hands.

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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes