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Top brands founded and run by the youth in South Africa

Have you wondered which brands in South Africa are founded and run by the youth? This article aims to fulfill that curiosity.

Benjamin Disraeli once said, “almost everything that is great has been done by youth”. It is true, the youth are creators and innovators. They are able to spot opportunities where many see problems and challenge the status-quo. Above all they are resilient and they stop at nothing to build something that will have a positive impact and be valuable to the societies in which they live.

The African Youth Charter defines the youth as any person between the ages of 18 and 35. In no particular order, these are some of the most notable brands that were founded by the youth of South Africa.

Bathu (Founder: Theo Baloyi, 30)

Theo Baloyi Fouder of Bathu
Source: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

If you have never heard of the brand Bathu, where have you been? This is a brand that has been enabling South Africans and the world to walk their journeys since 2015. The name Bathu is a colloquial term for a shoe in the township. According to Theo Baloyi, the brand was founded with the purpose of telling the authentic township story. Bathu is growing rapidly and they now have seven stores across the country, and produce their own branded shoe care products.

The Lazy Makoti (Founder: Mogau Seshoene, 28)

Source: Pan Macmillan

The Lazy Makoti brand has become a household name in many kitchens thanks to Mogau Seshoene. The Lazy Makoti offers intimate and informative cooking lessons for the modern Afropolitian who wants to know how to prepare authentic South African dishes. The Lazy Makoti signature apron is also available on sale. Mogau recently published a book called “THE LAZY MAKOTI’S GUIDE TO THE KITCHEN which has won international awards and is the best-selling cook-book in South Africa. The book is available at all major bookstores.

Skinny Sbu Socks (Sibusiso Ngwenya, 28)

Skinny Sbu Socks
Source: Skinny Sbu Socks website

Skinny Sbu Socks is one brand that most people are familiar with because of its founder Sibusiso Ngwenya aka Skinny Sbu, who possesses a larger than life personality. As the name suggests, Skinny Sbu Socks designs and manufactures premium socks for men. Many male celebrities have been spotted wearing Skinny Sbu Socks. In 2019, the brand broke the internet when Skinny Sbu handed a pair of Skinny Sbu Socks to President Cyril Ramaphosa. Skinny Sbu is never shy to speak his mind and he understands the power of using PR in building your brand. In actual fact, the entire Skinny Sbu Socks brand was built on the back of PR. Skinny Sbu Socks are now available in selected Markham stores and via their online store.

Inga Atalier (Founder: Inga Gubeka, 33)

Source: Inga Atelier Website

Inga Gubeka is well underway in building one of Africa’s luxury brands. According to Forbes, Inga is one of Africa’s most promising young entrepreneurs. He is the first African to have a single malt whiskey named after him by Glenfiddich. Inga Atelier makes wooden and leather bags. Their collection includes backpacks, clutches, tote, and laptop bags. Inga Atelier manufactures all its products locally and come with a customised scent. Inga Atelier has a store in one of the most premium malls in South Africa, Hyde Park Corner.

Dipalesa Flowas (Founder: Mahlatse Mashao, 32)

Screenshot of the Dipalesa Flowas website

This is a remarkable story of a brand that was conceived from a hospital bed. Mahlatse Mashao was in hospital when she came with the idea of selling flowers, which is something that she was passionate about from when she still a little girl. When she was discharged, she tweeted that she has started selling flowers and the tweet viral and people placed orders. That’s how she landed her first order. Dipalesa Flowas are available via their online store and they now also sell gifting products.

Natural Aura (Founder Dr Charlene Makita, 31)

Source: YouTube

Not only does Dr Charlen Makita posses academic prowess. She is also a brand builder of note. Natural Aura was born after, Dr Makita completed her masters and her Phd from the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), when she spotted a gap in the market for a Moringa-based organic hair care line. Using her scientific background in analytical chemistry, she began creating various concoctions until she arrived at the perfect formula and in 2016 Natural Aura was born. Natural Auroa is available online.

Tshepo Jeans (Founder: Tshepo Mohlala, 29)

Source: Tshepo Jeans website

This is a classic example of an entrepreneur who was told that the name of his brand wasn’t going to sell and he proved all the naysayers wrong. What most people don’t know is that the Tshepo Jeans’ logo – a three-pronged crown – is inspired by the three women to have played a role in the upbringing of Tshepo: His mother, grandmother, and trendy aunt Takalani who brought the fashion one used to see on TV to reality. You can order Tshepo Jeans online or visit their store at Victoria Yards, Lorentzville, Johannesburg.

A huge Pat on all the youth out there that are creating great brands. If you know of other brands, please free to leave a comment below.

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