Known to be one of the highest crime-ridden hotspots in the world, the township of Nyanga has, over the years, produced some of the most talented youths in the country.
Despite losing his best friend a couple of years ago, Siya Lengisi, the founder of Loafty Entertainment in Nyanga, shared a testimonial conversation that helped him to take a leap of faith in life.
A couple of years ago, he had a conversation about changing the narrative around Nyanga with his late friend, Sandiso Ndinisa. This was the same conversation he had with his grandmother as a child.
Siya was a shy kid growing up. He studied accounting and did retail business management in varsity. His superpower, however, was being creative and good at selling.
While trying to find a way to blend the two together, he started an incorporated brand, Loafty Entertainment, to showcase local fashion brands and designers while providing a platform for aspiring models.
“I run an incorporation business under Loafty Entertainment. So, what we do is we provide a platform of exposure and personal development and training for models. We always scout and train models and designers. We promote them in our own magazines. We invite the designer to come and speak about their story on our podcast about their brands. We cover events and then look at fashionable people and ask them questions about their brands. We try to promote them and our brand,” he said.
The name ‘loafty’ was from a joke his grandmother used to make about the lanky Siya who enjoyed eating a loaf of bread. So “Mr Loafty Entertainment” was born.
“Because we were friends since primary school, I believed in what Sandiso shared with me. So, I took the leap of faith, and for me, it was a way to remember him or maybe fulfill what he wanted when he was alive, so he is the one who introduced me to starting a school of entertainment,” he said.
Siya had a slight idea of the type of business and industry he was getting himself into, but because it was completely different from what he was used to, Siya says connecting with mentors and reading helped him to network and grow.
In the early summer of 2019, he joined the first cohort of the Youth In Business programme, introduced by UVU African (previously known as the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative), at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn.
“I was a part of the first Youth In Business cohort in 2019 at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn. The incubation helped me understand the digital side of the business and how we can use social media to grow our brand and interact with our customers. It has helped me to have an office space, and the funding they assisted with helped us to employ people, start a podcast, and run a modeling agency on the side. Also, we learned how to do a pitch deck to get funding or potential sponsors,” he said.
Here, Siya began to mingle with like-minded entrepreneurs on a mission to change the social issues and economic challenges of their environments.
“Later, I read the book called the Capitalist Nigga. I wanted to do something that is going to benefit black people and build ownership for the blacks, which is why we started with fashion to basically promote local brands so they can become luxury brands.”
“My vision is to have as many local designers owning their things and changing their perspective about local clothing brands. I want them to compete with the big brands in the future,” he said.
While his offices are now at the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn, Loafty Entertainment’s work spans from as far as Nyanga, Gugulethu, Langa, and Mitchell’s Plain, with the hopes of inspiring as much youth as possible throughout the country.
“If you are seeing a problem where you are or in your life, remember, because you are seeing it, it does not mean everyone is seeing it. It might be visible or appeal to you in a way it does because you are stressed by that.
“So find a way to not blame others for the problem that you see and rather do what you do, and then those who also see the problem are going to assist to make sure the problem is solved. When you start whatever, always make sure that you try and get feedback monthly or quarterly to see if you are still on the right track. By the time you do something without getting feedback, you will feel like you are rotating in the same space and give up even though what you are doing is valid. If it is stressing you out, try and fix it, nakanjani,” said Siya Lengisi.
In his latest podcast episode, Siya Lengisi interviewed prominent South African actor and presenter Maps Maponyane, click to watch the interview.