A journey that started when three skateboarding-obsessed Sowetans started "playing around with a camera" in 2011 has since taken them around the world to capture emotive, stylish self portraits for their blog I See A Different You (ISADY) and to connect with likeminded creative souls. Brothers Innocent and Justice Mukheli and their best friend Vuyo Mpantsha have toured Europe and Japan as part of Diesel+Edun’s Studio Africa campaign, given a TED talk and recently been to Tanzania to promote a campaign to conserve water. And now they’re making their first film War Child, back home in Soweto. KISUA meets them there.
Why did you start ISADY?
The media was only telling us negative stories about our Soweto. It's not just a ghetto; it’s a great place full of talented and fashionable people. ISADY was our way of telling love stories about where we are from that show Soweto in a different way. Since then it has become more than just a blog, it' a movement and a business. It's evolving as we evolve as artists and we are starting to showcase music, fine art and film.
How has Soweto changed in your lifetime?
It’s changed a lot and we’re proud. It used to be frowned upon to say you were from here but now it means you’re the coolest kids. And greater things are yet to come. Artists, designers and photographers are getting exposure and making careers from their passion.
What does War Child focus on?
It's about a boy called Rofhiwa Maemu who grew up in our neighborhood. One day we saw him out running with bad sneakers on. We have a sponsor and love running too so went to his house to give him some sneakers. It turned out he's a boxer and he wins a lot of professional fights despite having no kit, no coach and no gym. So we decided to tell his story to try and help him gain recognition. We are cutting it into a short film now to see what response we can get.
Describe your personal style.
Our look is quite chic – jeans with nice shirts and shoes. Lately we’ve been wearing dungarees, which used to be a big look in the 1980s in Soweto. We take these kinds of older influences and mix them up with what’s current. We’ve also been wearing lots of tribal and floral shirts that express how we feel - joyful and thankful for our successes.
Images: courtesy ISADY
Words: Helen Jennings