Business with Marvin: Kabelo Kungwane

Who is Kabelo Kungwane?
I am a Creative Director from Alex, the founder, and owner of KasiFlavour10 and a collector for a company called THE SARTIST. We do a lot of brand consulting, fashion design and I am also a stylist and do product placement. We have done collaborations with NIKE and one of the top three PSL teams (which cannot be named due to non-disclosure), we directed the whole campaign of the photo shoot. I am also a collector of South African football artifact.

What is @KasiFlavour10?
Kasi flavour is a style of football affectionately known as “shoeshine and piano” in the South African context. The 10 comes from the famous football jersey number 10, worn by our famous football maestros who showcase their sensational playmaking’s skills. KasiFlavour10 is a lifestyle brand, it’s a black story, I formed the company in 2014 after my realization of the disconnect between our football players and their lifestyle, and how their image off the field is as import as on the field.

What does the brand do in the business context?
We design and create football inspired street lifestyle apparel like; t-shirts, football jerseys, and sweaters. We are currently in collaboration with professional footballers in the PSL to create their image off the field. The growth of our business has been organic since its inception, we are not building a brand that is going to trend for a short while and then it dies, we are in our own lane, and not competing with other similar businesses because our target market is unique.

What drove you to pursue this lifestyle brand?
My first fascination of this lifestyle thing was through observing my father’s (Shakes Kungwane) swag and dress sense, he was a Glamour Boy (Kaizer Chiefs player) where the image was important, so I looked up to him. I used to steal his cologne so I can smell good going to school, so being stylish has always been a part of me.  Fashion is a form of expression and comes naturally to me. Things like how football supporters in South Africa dress up in their colours for the matches, those are some of the areas where I draw my inspiration. I’ve always wanted to combine iDiski (football) with a lifestyle brand, and I think this is where the whole business idea was conceived.

What are your struggles on this journey?
I feel that people are not educated enough about what I do or the rich history of our football, and they don’t appreciate their own stories. It is hard to sell a product to someone who does not appreciate its value. People do not archive or document themselves and their achievements. We are one of the first to be in this kind of business in South Africa, so that makes it a bit of a challenge. The minds of many people in this country are colonized to be inclined to appreciate international brands more than those created by people in their own communities. 40% of my target market understand the brand and the other 60% still need to be educated.  My other struggle is people close to me who understand the brand still don’t support it, I end up getting support from people in the UK.

Is there any support from big corporate?
Yes, there has been support from corporates with some of my business ideas, like Puma, Nike, and Redbull. But I still think more concrete relationships still need to be established. We actually want to collaborate with big sports clothing brands so that Kasiflavour10 can design for them and we can be showcased in their outlet stores.

What is your vision and where do you want to take this whole movement?
The big idea is to establish a manufacturing plant, and open up a concept store that will translate the purpose of our brand.

What can you do at home (Alexandra) to ignite the passion for people to appreciate our football heritage?
I think a football museum in Alexandra would do justice to our people in educating them, so this is one of the things I want to establish. I am in collaboration with the Alexandra Youth Tournament (AYT), we host a street soccer tournament (a 3 versus 3). I also created a t-shirt for this tournament to celebrate the street soccer heritage in our townships.

I have designed and released a Paul Dolezar t-shirt which sold really well and was a good start to launch our brand. Then we did a fact file t-shirt, which displays Shakes face and his nicknames. I have also made a Msheke 10 t-shirt, which was also well received by our clients. We did a winter sweater, with the graphics that were inspired by the 1990  Kaizer Chiefs jersey, this was inspired by a story I was told by my dad; that  Nelson “Teenage” Dladla gave him his jersey when he was in the development team of Kaizer Chiefs and personally asked him to join the senior team to replace him when he retires.

Are the kids of the townships part of your journey?
Yes, the youth of Alex is part of our journey because they take part in the youth tournament. This keeps them off the streets and helps them appreciate their talent of football.

Where does the history of SA football lie as we speak, is it properly narrated by the right people?
Well, I don’t think so, kit designers don’t consider the history of the club when they design for our local clubs.

What role does our local football heroes play as part of your brand?
Our football heroes (past and present) play a huge role for us because without them there is no Kasiflavour10.
What does the future hold for your brand?

Firstly I want people to understand the brand, Kasiflavour10. The everyday journey of our lifestyle brand is key to me. There are more collaborations in the pipeline.

Written by: Kabelo Motsugi