Conversation with Menzi Mcunu

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: I am currently studying a bachelor of social science degree at the University of Cape Town however I also do creative consulting through a photographic collective that I have co-founded – Made in Johannesburg and run a bespoke menswear lifestyle brand – Afrocentric Gentlemvn

Q: What is like to be a man in the modern day South Africa?

A: South Africa is at a fascinating turning point, in which as a nation we are effectively reassessing our old identity and molding our new identity to better suit our modern context in a globalized world. As a modern man, I am constantly faced with the challenge of defining my own masculinity through the ways I interact with people, the way I dress and my social awareness in the context of South Africa. I feel like there’s a certain pressure on the man in South Africa to “be the best”, to be innovative and to really be able to put South Africa on the world map as a global leader.

Q: Do you know what Feminism is about and do you think everyone else knows what it actually means?

A: I do know what feminism is about, I think it’s very important in the 21st century. As a man, I will never truly understand it as I do not directly experience it, as I am by virtue of being a man a beneficiary of a patriarchal system. Sadly, I do not think that enough people actually understand the thinking behind feminism and for as long as people don’t understand this we can’t make any real changes to our male hegemonic society.

Q: We follow you on Instagram and Tumblr, can you please explain more regarding what your movement is about?

My movement –Afrocentric Gentlemvn, which started with trying to get South African men to dress better has evolved from merely just tailored clothing to a choice of lifestyle – The new age man who identifies with Africa understands the importance of being African but is still a man of the world. This man is innovative and is a thinking man who understands the value of communication through fashion in a world where fashion is a quick effective visual communicator.

Q: What is your relationship with women?

A: Women are an important part of my life, I value women highly because I’ve always been surrounded by strong women in my life namely my mom and my sisters which has enabled me to respect women and appreciate my relationships with them.

Q: Is your father still alive and do you have a relationship with him?

Yes he is, I have a good relationship with my father.

Q: In your own words, what is the role of a man?

A: I don’t think there should be any fixed gender roles in the 21st century, I think we are ready to move past these outdated societal constructs.

Q: Are you a traditionalist?

No, I’m not, I guess I’m more of a modernist

Q: Do you believe in ancestors?

A: Not Really

Q: Do you know who Marvin is?

A: Well, Marvin, Marvin is a friend of mine.

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