The Battle of Maps Maponyane

“I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty and I can’t possibly be beaten”. When Muhammad Ali uttered these immortal words he was not boasting as much as he was making a declaration. More than that, he was linking two attributes that we are reluctant to believe are connected; physical looks and athletic ability. He envisioned these two aspects of himself as one and the same. His looks were not a byproduct of genetics but an integral component of his prowess as a boxer. What saved this statement from being just an egotistic rant is that it was defiantly true. In a now-iconic photo, Ali stood over “Big Bad” Sunny Liston after he had laid Liston down on the canvas in a 1965 rematch with a punch that was so devastatingly fast that it came to be called the “phantom punch”. As he towered over his dazed opponent, Ali looked picture perfect. What made Muhammad Ali the greatest athlete of all time isn’t just that he was a great boxer. What made him an icon was the fact that we could all sense how hard he worked to become the very best he could be.

In an attention obsessed world, governed by social media, photo-filters and “followers” it would be easy to assume that looks to go further than pretty much any other personal attribute that a person has. We tend to dismiss the deeper stories that public figures have in the pursuit of getting our next instant gratification fix. In such a society, Muhammad Ali’s statement would have been popularly cut short at “I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty”. Black Twitter would celebrate him for all of five minutes, throw memes at him, start a #TweetLikeAli “challenge”, then relish at the thought of his downfall. This, this is the society in which Maps Maponyane is becoming a household name.

Most people don’t really remember how they first got to know Maps Maponyane. He didn’t ‘burst into the scene’ out of nowhere, but we have kind of gotten used to seeing him everywhere from billboards to tv, to movies. Look, let’s be frank, we all know Maps as that good looking dude who seems to be famous for being good looking. The fact that his father is the legendary Marks Maponyane is also a footnote that most step over. Yet, many wouldn’t know that his steady rise in the media industry has not been by accident and has had very little to do with his family name. His is a story of overcoming many challenges from a young age and meticulous building of a powerful brand. To continue with the article please download the Marvin Mag app on Apple Store and Android Google Play Store

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Writer: Vus Ngxande Photographer: Judd van Rensburg Stylist: Mpumi Sinxoto Copy Editor: Palesa Motau Makeup/Special Effects: Karabo Makama Creative Director: George Gladwin Matsheke

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