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KasiFlavour10: Kabelo Kungwane's Playful Blend of South African Football, Fashion and Community
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N: Hi Kabelo, it's a pleasure to connect with you! Growing up with a father who was a football player in South Africa, you were naturally exposed to the sport early on. At what point did your interests expand to include fashion, photography, and the arts?

K: For me, it started with the arts back in high school. I studied history and was always fascinated by where things come from, as well as the visuals. I saw images of people like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, and how they dressed in the 60s. So, from then on, I was intrigued by outfits. Studying art in school introduced me to artists like da Vinci and Basquiat.

My father played for Kaizer Chiefs, which is known for its flamboyant style, and it was part of their culture for players to dress and behave a certain way. That's how I got into arts, fashion, and photography.

N: Your innovative project, Kasiflavour10, seems to elevate football-wear through a combination of styling, photography, and art. In the fashion world, performance wear often garners respect for its quality and efficiency, whereas sports team apparel, despite its symbolic and culturally significant designs, isn't always seen as equally "fashionable". What are your thoughts on this distinction, and why do you think it exists?

K: I think the distinction exists primarily because when fans watch soccer, they want to see results and goals. So, the performance aspect of football takes precedence, and everything else becomes secondary, psychologically. Over time, people may appreciate jerseys more as they associate them with memorable moments in the sport. Fans often cherish jerseys that remind them of a cup final, a specific player, or an era. They appreciate the jerseys not so much for their design, but for the feelings and memories they evoke.

N: Yeah, I mean there is definitely the extra dimension of the game and its results..

K: Can I add something?

N: Sure!

K: There's a Bafana Bafana jersey from 1996, which was worn during the Afcon tournament in South Africa. Aesthetically, it's one of the ugliest jerseys, but many people want it because it reminds them of the country's independence and winning the African Cup of Nations. That moment holds a lot of significance for the people... that trumps any style preference.

N: The sports community, particularly football, and the art community share similarities in how they evolve into lifestyles, where individuals dedicate significant time and effort to build social and cultural capital. In your experience, can you discuss some differences and similarities between these two communities, and which one feels more like home to you?

K: To be honest, both feel like home to me because they are both part of my life, and I engage with them almost every day. They also basically come together in my life.. playing football during the week helps my creativity and mental health.

As a creative, I believe it's essential to be active and exercise, as it positively impacts your work. Playing football with like-minded friends, who are painters and writers, stimulates our minds as we discuss fashion, art, and music while exercising.

N: In one of your posts, you emphasize the importance of preserving football clubs across various provinces. When a club is discontinued or relocated, it can impact local economies and dash the dreams of aspiring talents. Can you elaborate on the crucial role sports play in fostering community spirit, particularly in African culture?

K: In South Africa, many teams are sold more often because it's expensive to run a team. While I understand that, I think there should be regulations to prevent teams from relocating or changing names. Clubs are supported by the communities they come from, and when a team is moved, it affects people's identity and heritage. Generations of families may have supported the same team, and football is deeply ingrained in South African culture.

When a team is taken away from a community, it diminishes the passion for the sport and can lead kids away from the field and into the streets where crime is prevalent. It's essential to maintain the connection between football clubs and their communities to inspire future generations and maintain a sense of identity.

N: Apart from your love for football, do you have any other interests or passions that might surprise people?

K: I have a passion for collecting fragrances, which I inherited from my dad. He used to wear fragrances a lot, and they remind me of him. He played for a team known for its style, and I'm also influenced by the way he used to dress.

N: You actually I was going to ask you about this. You mentioned before your dad in reference to this idea of “South African football player style.” I am really curious about this.. can you tell me more ?

K: In the 90s, South African football players followed a lot of Italian styles. They would wear suits with Ferragamo or Gucci loafers and Panama hats. They also wore a lot of linen and jewelry. Their styles were influenced by both Italian fashion and American pop culture, like Will Smith's haircut..

N: From "The Prince of Bel-Air"?

K: Yeah, something like that! I love collecting South African football jerseys because we don't have a museum here that's dedicated to football. I'm trying to build something that will allow people to come and interact with the garments and learn about the history behind them. Currently, I have an online museum on my website, but I hope to make it a physical space one day.

N: That sounds really interesting. This perfectly leads into my last question. What are some exciting projects you have lined up for the future?

All images courtesy of Kabelo Kungwane.

K: The next project I want to work on is a magazine focused on football culture in South Africa. I want to create a print magazine that covers our football stories, designs, art, and fashion.

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