Where I Am From …

When you create something magical chances are that moment is as bland as possible, it is so basic at times yet so fulfilling. When you create something no one has created before so much goes through your mind, will they get it this time, is this thing even worth it. I remember that these were my thoughts when I started Marvin, these were my fears when I started because this was my 4th magazine I’d started in a space of 10 years.

I have just came out of a long term relationship with the girl with whom I thought we would spend forever together, so my confidence is a little bit low. That alone means that I have to build myself up because you lose yourself in a relationship trying to please the next person and that is ok because that is what we do for those we love.

I am here toying with the idea of starting another magazine…What will make this one different? Why wont this one fail like the rest of them? What’s the difference between now and 7 years ago? There are certain mistakes that I wont repeat again, that I’ve leant from previous magazines, so that’s a good thing.

I start an instagram account, start building up this Marvin character, what does he like, what he wears, what he drinks, where he lives etc. First thought is that I know that the most difficult part about a new magazine is the tone or rather the narrative. The narrative is what this man stands for, who he stands for, his values, his imperfections, his flaws but also his willingness to change and his views on progression. Does he believe in Lobola or is he the new modern man? What is his stance when it comes to culture, which parts he can live without and which parts of his culture he believes  are backwards?

I remember calling Jeff Rikhotso and saying to him that we need to do a shoot. Jeff agreed and said that we should shoot in Alex and I agreed. I had always been a fan of Jeff’s work and he let me use his images for my magazines, so we are good.

Jeff took the most iconic picture of me in this lifetime, I didn’t feel as if it was iconic at the time I just felt like it was the better picture compared to the others. I put them out there as the Marvin shoot and I remember that I was obsessed with the song from Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at the time “Suit & Tie” – I called the shoot “Suit & Tie”. The image is of me coming up from 11thavenue on the corner of Bra Joe’s butchery while speaking on the phone. What is more interesting is the contrast of the image – the background and the environment. Im in a nice suit and I look very dignified but my surroundings are not as dignified. On the left is a dumping site and it has all sorts of contents such as bottles, plastics and behind that there are two women who are selling fruits and vegetables. The ground is covered in water but not too much of it and you can see the background is of houses and apartment buildings. You can see people walking behind me as well.

Now what makes this picture so special is that it depicts our hopes and dreams as black people, the background is where we are from and the nice suit represents our dreams of where we are going, phone represents the conversations we need to have so that we can move forward as people and as mankind. My background is not rosey, actually my background is rather hard but even in that mess you have to dress up and show up, dream so that you can be able to hope for a better life. When I say better life I mean a better life not just for me but for those who come after me as well. At that moment I didn’t think that Marvin would make it to 3 years, I didn’t know that I would speak in New York because of the work that I do for Marvin and there is nothing more fulfilling than your company taking you all over the world. I didn’t think that I would have offices in Rosebank and have clients like Vaseline. When I look at that picture I had no idea of the journey ahead, but I am glad that I showed up because its between that moment when you have to show up one more time despite all the failures you encountered in the past, despite the heartache, despite financial backing. Its amazing to look back because where you are from contributes a lot to where you are going …

Part 2

  • Nelisiwe
    6th Sep 2017

    So proud of you George. Being a Alexandrian myself I know that, that place can either make you or brake you, and you came out of it flourishing. keep up the good work and continue to inspire.

    • George Matsheke
      7th Sep 2017

      Thank you and there are more other kids who are looking at us so we need to do even better …

  • Cynthia Giyani
    1st Nov 2017

    I take a taxi through Alex daily. I always found(find) myself experiencing mixed emotions every time. Shock, disbelief and amazement that people are expected to live in such an environment. Then one day I saw this picture of you and now every time I drive through there i feel hopeful that even is such can rise greatness. Again, I love your work.

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