The stigma of laziness and not knowing self is often a**ociated with young people in South Africa and depending on how you look at it; this could be a fitting tag for Mzansi’s youth.
As the country draws close to the end of youth month, 34-year-old entrepreneur Theo Baloyi displayed the strength of youth and his identity as he launched a new range from his sneaker brand Bathu.
“It’s actually my clan name from my forefathers and I’m Tsonga, and in our culture we don’t call each other by names. There’s Khalanga, there’s Mathebula… and I think it’s really about identity,” said Bathu founder and CEO Baloyi.
He was explaining the name of the new range, Khalanga last night at the launch party in Johannesburg. The Khalanga name goes with the tag-line, It’s Who You Are. The sneaker will be retailing at R1 500,00.
“When I was in the UAE, one of the things I took in my experience with my Emirates friends, is that they celebrate their identity. I have friends that would fly nothing else but Emirates. If we move a project and Emirates is not available, we not flying anything else,” said Baloyi.
Bathu is one of South Africa’s leading sneaker brands which was found in 2015, after leaving the corporate world where he worked for PwC Middle East in Dubai.
Since the establishment of Bathu, Baloyi has been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2019, and was named GQ Business Leader of the Year in 2021.
Celebrities come out in support
When the actual unveiling of the sneaker happened on the big monitors, the audience gave it a rapturous reception.
It doesn’t take much for South African celebs to have a night out in Joburg, but drawing out some seasoned entrepreneurs, artists and field specialists is something few can do.
Baloyi’s glitzy launch had the usual faces you would spot on a night out in Joburg, but also saw the likes of brand specialist Thebe Ikalafeng and Johanna Makgalemele at the event hosted by Minnie Dlamini.
There were performances by Ami Faku as well as Toss, and Mörda played a set on the decks.