Issue 3


Khanya: I actually wanted to watch a documentary called The Director. It came out around 2012 or 2013…

Rhest: Yeah? About…?

Khanya: It’s about Coco, I think. It’s about the director that runs her studios now. And it’s just brutally honest about what goes on behind the fashion shows, fashion week…

Rhest: Just the shit that we don’t get to know.

Khanya: Yeah. You know, the intensity of the 30 minutes before the models come out onto the runway. It looked crazy. I mean, I haven’t seen it yet, just the previews – but it looked so crazy. But anyway, so you guys are based in Pretoria, right?

Rhest: Full time. Pretoria, Attridgeville, to be specific. We’re based in, like, a township that’s west of Pretoria called Attridgeville. And we know that sounds weird to think that we distribute publications like Hypebeast and Highsnobiety coming out the hood, you know. In a township – laughs.

Khanya: Why? What’s wrong with that? The hood… The hood has always been the originator of style in my opinion.

Rhest: No, definitely! If you’ve been there then you’ll know. But then, when you think about it, it’s like… Ok, let’s say you’re a gent from Dainfern (suburb), and you’re just going through your phone and you see these guys called and they distribute these publications. You know the publication is foreign, you know it’s rare, so you decide you want to pick one up. Now you’re going through the address and details and you come across “Attridgeville, Pretoria” – So you google the location, and you see it’s a township! You’re like “These guys don’t have Highsnobiety, yo! This shit’s a scam bro”

– laughing “Don’t nobody have Hypebeast in the hood! Get the fuck outta here!” But we got it though! We got it, we got it.

Khanya: So it’s been a challenge then; running the publication aspect of the business from the hood?

Rhest: Uhm… It’s been cost-effective.

Khanya: The hood’s always cost-effective.

Rhest: Right! But at the same time we feel like if we were running it out of Sandton then we’d make for sales, because we’d be in Sandton. As much as we’re saying the hood’s cost-effective, most of the target audience is in the ‘burbs, so we would move more product there.

Khanya: That makes sense. But I feel iKasi is open-minded, for the most part – as opposed to someone who grew up in the ‘burbs their whole life. I feel like our perspectives are a lot more three-dimensional. The Culture’s perspective is more three-dimensional. Now, you guys went into a hard industry; the print publication industry. So how has the reception been from where you’re based, eKasi, vs. when you guys step out to engage the culture?

Rhest: Well, let’s go back a little; right to the beginning so it’ll make sense. So RHEST started out as a party. We threw parties. It was dope. It was well packaged. After a while, someone came up and asked us who was doing our branding and our marketing, you know? And we’re like “Yo, that’s all in-house”. So he was like “That’s dope! Can you guys do something along those lines for me?” So we stumbled across a demand for this shit. Cool, let’s test the waters. We started getting a couple of clients, and gradually started becoming a creative studio. But we were young at the time; things became stagnant a bit. So we started asking ourselves what we could do to set ourselves apart from the rest… No pun intended… – laughs – we were like, yo, let’s sell books. Let’s distribute print. Now, why books? Everything we do is about self-expression. Whether you’re an individual or a brand, it’s all about expressing the best version of yourself to the world; and then it works the other way too. That’s the Culture.


It’s a give and take, you know? So we went into print. Right then we decided to stock the best, and that’s Highsnobiety and Hypebeast. Also, we felt there’s a design segment that’s not being catered to. Because we’re in the design industry, we’ll engage print publication around design to feed ourselves and consumers with knowledge. That actually got us more traction. Now we’re getting more clients. It’s been a snowball effect, like the guys who are into your Hypebeast and so on, are also interested in Rap culture, so now we get requests to distribute books like Hip Hop Raised Me, you know? And we found an appreciation from people for bringing that aspect to them. Oh, and by the way, RHEST is an acronym – Rhythms, Enunciation and Style. So that encompasses everything we do, all that we’re into.

Khanya: So I feel like, or at least I’ve picked up that the product that you guys offer and distribute is dictated to by what you’re into, personally. A lot like what we do on Justsunday. The contents of the mag, what it looks like and what it feels like speaks to who we are and what we’re into. We don’t want to lose that, but we do want to expand on it. So like, what we did on the second issue was give out a lot of the articles to creative individuals that we love and admire. Individuals we look up to. In that way the mag could maintain a through-line that feels like us, but offer a broader perspective than just our own. With what you guys offer, I find a through-line in every book and mag that I’ve seen so far – Design, Quality and Exclusivity…

Rhest: Def! Yeah, def!

Khanya: …A different texture in all of them, from Jay Z’s “Decoded”, Michael Johnson’s “Branding” to the Chanel collection, but they all have that through-line. So, how do you guys decide on what to stock?

Rhest: Well we have to look at who’s selling it at the moment. If no one is selling it, then is there a demand for it? If not, then should there be? And how can we create a demand for it? So that’s rule of thumb for us. Secondly, we always want to educate people. I feel like people always get to see the end product, we hardly ever get to see the process. So a lot of our content talks to that. If you’re starting a brand, a business, this is the story and insight behind some of the best that have done it, and are still doing it. What you buy and what you’ve seen on social media is the end of it.

Khanya: At the end of that strenuous process, when you get to the end of it, it’s just ‘scroll, scroll, double-tap, scroll’.

Rhest: Done! That’s all you work for, digitally. And whereas, with print, it’s a journey on it’s own. It forces you to take time to consume. You have to sit down, open the packaging, and smell the paper that sets the tone to the content. That’s a whole experience. But you have to realise one thing; as much as digital is the New World Order, print is forever. And they co-exist. It’s not necessarily one or the other.

Khanya: That’s funny. We got a lot of the talks. A lot of that ‘advice’ saying “Guys it would be a lot cheaper, a lot faster, it would be a lot easier if you guys just went online.” And I want to your perspective on this, but ours was, uhm… You know Clive Bean once said, in an interview we were doing with him, he said “When last did you get a mail from overseas, with all the stamps, the foreign smell, the texture? There’s no better feeling than opening an envelope on a Sunday afternoon while the sun sets and going through your mail”. That’s the feeling that we’re trying to keep alive with the mag.

RHEST: And that’s serene bro. That’s the shit you’ll never get by going through your phone. Now with that being said, you can have the Highsnobiety’ app, or go online, but when it’s in your palms, and you’re paging through it… damn. I don’t think they’ll ever replace each other [Digital vs Print].

Khanya: So how do you see their co-existence?

Rhest: Well, if you look at digital uhh, uhm… would you call them ‘magazines?’ Whatever.

Khanya: Onlinezine?

Rhest: Yeah, that. I think let’s talk about… I mean I hate to talk about money. But let’s talk about money and the user experience of reading it. With reading, there are no distractions when consuming print purely based on the effort you go through to find the time to consume it’s content. With online articles, you’re getting a banner or a pop-up. And that’s why the articles are so short on that platform. You can’t hold their concentration for that long because there’s so much to do on that platform. Also, it’s harder to get people to come back to the same topic on digital, which is why it has a shorter lifespan. Now, print is more expensive, but it lives a lot longer. That being said, there’s no right or wrong between the two. They can compliment each other if used in the right way, a smart way.

Khanya: That makes sense. We were talking about it the other day and we concluded that print lives longer as a singular entity before a body. So a single print issue might have certain significance to certain individuals, before they buy into the brand. But with digital, it lives longer as a body first. You’ll remember Hypebeast as a body before you remember the first article you read this morning. Actually, while we’re on the topic, there are a lot of things we see online or social media that we ‘Like’ and scroll past because we deem them unattainable. Which must have an impact on your business. When I saw the Hypebeast x KAWS cover I was blown away. I mean he’s one of my favourite artists [KAWS]. But I already accepted the fact that I’ll never have one. It’s near impossible. I didn’t even bother going to search if it were possible to get my hands on it. How does that affect your business?

Rhest: First of, you have to understand that South Africa is country where an average mag is like, R50 or R80. Now, we’re coming with HB and we’re saying hey, its R300. The first thing you hear is “Yho!”. That’s how many times more? Like, ten times more, right? Nah not ten times more…

Khanya: …five, six times more.

Rhest: Yeah, my bad. It’s six times more. Dawg, don’t put that shit in the mag. Edit it out – laughs

Khanya: Yeah and I get you. It’s not to say we don’t appreciate quality, but our perception on spending on value is different, countrywide. Like we know what a HB is worth, or whatever; but selling a South African Justsunday Mag at R200? – it’s not easy.

Rhest: It’s not. An average South African mag is around R80. So, wena what do you have that’s worth my R200? Why?

Khanya: Exactly. And it’s crazy because we’re like, yo, we know what goes into putting every issue together. Trust me, you’re getting if for free at R200. But, we’re delusional because the next person doesn’t give a fuck about what you went through to put it together. All they see is the end product. They’re like “Yeah negus, it looks good, I know that person, this one’s a friend, I follow her on Instagram – she’s dope, but R200? Fuck outta here! Now excuse me while I settle my R600 bill for the drinks” – laughs – So what I’m saying is, we do understand what quality is worth, but our perception of what money is worth is a lot different.

Rhest: And those are the talks you’d like to have with each individual, but you can’t. And feel for Justsunday because you’re priced at a Vogue level, you know what I mean? But they’ll come at you like, but my G, you’re not Vogue level. They don’t understand that Vogue drives on sheer numbers. Those numbers allow them to run the mag R200 when it should be R400. But when you’re independent it’s different. You’re meticulous about every single detail. You want to make sure that it’s the best version of South Africa you’re putting out. You can’t cut corners.

Khanya: Fighting the perception “Made in South Africa”

is a synonym for Cheap production. Low quality.

Rhest: “Brand from the Hood” – Even lower quality.

Dear Ribane

Khanya: I didn’t prepare any questions, by the way. I almost did. Last week sometime, I was typing out a few questions because I was nervous. It started feeling like I was preparing an interview so I stopped. Was it myself or Jeff who reached out to you guys about being part of the KULT issue?

Manthe: Uhm, we… Well thank you so much, Justsunday, for having us on board on this historical moment. We really hope that this will inspire a lot of people. So we’re working on a campaign with Woolworths for a new collection called EDITION Collection. Kay-Kay was the main feature. I think if everyone were to go to every Woolworths in South Africa, they’ll see ‘The Classic Man’, Mr Ribane. Congratulations, by the way. – everyone claps – That’s a very big one. Also, we had just wrapped up the Nike Air Max month. We got chosen to be one of the influencers for the campaign, which was a really overwhelming experience because, you know, Nike is a global brand and for them to pick Dear Ribane to be a part of change, it was a part of history. What that meant for us is to not give up on what we started, and build on the progress. Before that were just travelling back and forth. And then Justsunday happened. That was just a great way to have a good Sunday, with the brilliant team.

Tebogo: So we also did some work on a Standard Bank campaign…

Manthe: Oh yeah…

Tebogo: #Today. We did a… Was it a social advert? Or…

Manthe: It was a social media campaign.

Tebogo: They gave every influencer a platform to give a pledge and we gave a our pledge to Sparrow Rainbow Village. It’s an AIDS orphanage home, so we thought it would be amazing for Dear Ribane to do a CSI project, and give back. Because that’s why we are where we are right now. God has given us so much grace.

Khanya: I’ve spent some time looking at your work. You’ve worked with multiple brands, on multiple platforms, but everything you produce still has that through-line that makes it look and feel like Dear Ribane. How do you guys bring that through all the time? Apart from the glasses that no one can mistake. I’ve seen a lot of artists’ style compromised because of particular brands that they’ve worked with. I mean, I’ve looked at the Nike Air Max work and that was incredible. You guys got the balance right. You can tell immediately that this is Dear Ribane’s work without putting the brand in the background. How do you guys manage to always make sure that your fingerprint is always present in the work?

Kay-Kay: I think it comes down to everyone that we work with, like some big brands; it feels like everybody gravitates towards what we practice. We love being part of it and we always try and make sure our craft is accepted. It’s a journey that we’ve been through with them as well. Before that, it was just us linking up and doing work that shows the strength of ‘us’. It was also a big deal for the brands to open up to us and our way of working; not being closed-minded as well. They were open to new ideas and new solutions and being innovative.

Manthe: …and its a great feeling to not sacrifice what you stand for. We know this world can be very challenging, and that’s a good thing because it brings out the best in you. But, sometimes you find yourself compromising to the point where you lose what you had started. We’re very happy that ‘the gatekeepers’ are a lot more open minded now. It’s time that they accept change. Change can be very uncomfortable, best it serves the world best when everyone gravitates towards it. Right now, the world is looking at Africa. We have so much richness and diversity here. We should not underestimate it by trying be something or someone else. Always be you, because there will never be another you… – laughs – wow, that’s so… – laughing –

Khanya: So when I spoke to Jeff… So like, this whole mag is a scam. We’re just using it make friends with the people we admire and look up to creatively. Like, “Hey! We spent Sunday with the Ribane’s, in their home!” So when I spoke to Jeff, he had shown me his treatment for the cover, and he was like, “Bro, we have to get the Ribane’s for this, it’s too crazy”. My point is, brands always come to you guys because they know they’re going to get some obscene work. So they have to be willing to step outside of their element. But, is it the same with you? Do you constantly push yourselves to a point of open-mindedness or discomfort to discover creativity, or is it like “Whatever man, this is who we are, it’s what we do on the daily?”

Tebogo: Uhm, I think knowing, and sticking to what you believe in, eventually makes people want to adjust to what you believe in. You’re correct in saying that all the brands approach us looking to get something different. What we do is something we practice on the daily. We’ve turned every room that we live in, into a creative space; so we don’t forget our duty in life which is to use creativity to positively influence our generation. It’s so important to us to be true to who we are. The world can be misleading, but being true to who you are protects you from a lot. And when brands approach you, they approach you for who you are. We went from saying “It’s ok Fam, if no one get’s it, they’ll adjust. We’re hardcore creatives. They’ll adjust” And now it’s like “Wow, you guys are so strong in your narrative”.

Manthe: Also, our father created so much vivid and creative memories in the creative world. Whenever there were school holidays, he’d always make sure that there was a schedule for graphic design classes, art classes, museums, so he really instilled that in us. Being in those spaces made us happy. Practicing it as such a young age helps us maintain it. So now it’s normality for us, we can’t  be normal – everyone laughs – but it’s so amazing to see the world…

Tebogo: Adjusting. It’s a great time to be alive right now.

Manthe: …You know! We get so inspired by people who are doing even more, so we feel like we haven’t done much yet. We’re still at the beginning of it all. We’ll get better in time.

Khanya: I love how humble you guys are about it. “No, we haven’t done anything yet”. Please… – laughs – So, creative expression has become a cult, right? It’s a practice, a belief that fuels our ways of living. Do you guys ever look at what you do as a cultural practice?

Manthe: We love the fact that we don’t want to box it, or put a finger on it like, “Oh this is it. This is black, or this is white”, you know? We’re always trying to intrigue people’s curiosity and create conversation by shifting people’s mindsets. I remember when I was working with Die Antwoord, they were like “Oh yeah, you’re part of the cult family” – laughs – It was a bit like, I didn’t really look too much into it, but I just feel like Dear Ribane is a country on it’s own. It’s a philosophy and it’s a book and that’s what we’ve started. But I guess it does also connect with the cult – rituals of different beliefs, creative perspective and people that are pushing hectic boundaries, you know? But I don’t want to box it. So, it’s a challenge to answer that question actually. I don’t know if I did… It’s weird.

Tebogo: You know, for someone to remember the word cult… It’s like, when you’re different, you’re a cult. Because we ‘have’ to put you in a box. We ‘have’ to describe you. You can’t just be something new, you know? You have to adjust to something. Cult is just one of those words we use to navigate through lifestyles and execution. Yeah, maybe we’ll be the new ‘cultcyclopaedia’ – laughs –

Khanya: The beautiful thing about what we’re trying to do; and I don’t know what to call it, is… uhm… I read this in an interview with Virgil Abloh. He was speaking on how protective we are over ideas, we want to own everything. Virgil blew everything open for me in that interview. The interviewer was pointing out how Virgil uses the youth as inspiration for OFF-WHITE, but the youth can’t afford it. Virgil responds and says something like “I’m not doing this for you to afford it. I’m doing it so you can know it’s possible. It’s a template. Take it and run with it. Make it your own”.

Manthe: WOW

Khanya: We heard friends tell us about other people wanting to start magazines, and we’re like, that’s great. It’s amazing! There should be ten thousand of us. We got it from somewhere, and if we do it good enough, we’ll give it to somewhere. It’s better that than trying to own an idea. Now, that being said, everyone always sees something, they like and they imitate it, make it their own. But no one has tried to recreate Dear Ribane yet. Why do you think that is?

Dear Ribane: …whoah… – laughs, and laughs, then more whoah’s, and they laugh even harder

Kay-Kay: I think it’s still something growing. It’s still a seed also. Everything is an offspring of something. We’re also at a point where we’re gravitating towards our greater execution of work. Also, to try and duplicate this, you’d have to have the same family orientation that we do. People who are trying to duplicate it are forced to go back and think “Oh, my sisters, my brothers” It makes you humble. It has a certain state of patience and perseverance within you and your family. Gradually, we’ll see siblings coming together, working together to create companies. We realised that everyone in our family is talented in some way and us discovering that is what we’re trying to inspire.

Khanya: How long did that journey take? Discovering who you are as individuals as well as a collective, and what you can do with it…

Manthe: So growing up, we became fans of each other. My father always had this, uhm… you know, he had this beautiful spirit for all of us to win, and to always stick together. So we grew up with that strength . We became so addicted to each other. So eventually, when we gathered our hearts together, it was like, let’s be impactful for each other because our father planted that. We saw each other’s strengths and we keep on enhancing those strengths. That’s therapeutic for us because the more we see growth within each other, the more we find purpose within each other.

Tebogo: We’re very selfish about someone getting hurt by other people. We were individually disregarded to the point where we’d come home crying like “Oh had this idea but they brushed it off and…” So we got to a point where we were like, “That’s enough. Let’s do this”. So now we try to improve to impress ourselves , and that’s inspiring. It’s exciting, everyday, to know what your sibling can create.

Manthe: Also, registering the name was sort of a wake-up call. Like, if we procrastinate on this, we procrastinating  on our future.

Khanya: Was that scarier than it was exciting?

Manthe: It was uncomfortable. But we needed it. We  had to be

uncomfortable in order to be comfortable, you know…?

– silence, breaks into laughter –

Khanya: Yeah, no. Yeah I get it. I’m with you – laughs –

Manthe: We just knew that our talent would feed us. This our nine-to-five, and our nine-to-life…

Tebogo: Hey! – claps – Sista! Tha quotes! – laughs –

Manthe: Once we started employing other people, it was like “Ok, wow, so this is really happening”

Khanya: “Today, being what they call a creative, brings to mind the daily thought: “I don’t know where these ideas come from, and I don’t know if they’ll come back again tomorrow”. I heard that from a documentary called Art & Copy. Do you guys ever find yourselves in that realm at all?

Dear Ribane: …

Tebogo: Could you please repeat that – so I repeated it –

Tebogo: That’s why you always have to live in the power of doing, so that you don’t have to think about not doing it. You start thinking that you’ve accomplished it, I’ve established it and it’s moving. If you don’t act on idea, it might not be there tomorrow. You’ve wasted a thought, a dream that came straight to you. It’s so important for us be doers. What ever comes into your heart, do it.

Manthe: At times it can be tricky. Imagination can be so expensive. But we believe in perfect timing. With perfect timing comes perfect execution. Sometimes, if that idea wasn’t really for you, then you won’t do it.

Khanya: I spoke to Sanza of The Uniconz about that in the last issue. We were describing ideas as cells that float in the ether. Uhm, like that flower I used to love as a kid; it’s fluffy until you blow on it and then it breaks into small particles that float magically all around you. Maybe that’s what ideas are like. They’ll come to you and you might ignore them; they’ll just float to someone else. Which makes you think, actually, that ideas aren’t really yours. You’re just an expressionist of that idea. You’re just a custodian, and that’s a humbling thought. Anyway, what are the threads that make up the Dear Ribane fabric? So far I’ve gathered that it’s family, humility…

Tebogo: …perseverance.

Kay-Kay: …and drive

Manthe: …and to speak the truth. Like, if you can’t do something then ask for help.

Thabiso: Bro, there’s no more space on the memory card.

Khanya: Really? Both of them?

Thabiso: Yeah man – laughs –

Khanya: Cool. that’s dope because that’s how we’ll end it. Like,

“Yo we ran out of space…”

Manthe: In the actual mag? – laughs –

Khanya: Yes, exactly!

Lwazi Sijaji

A Moment…

It was a part of me and I was part of it. I felt it as soon as I saw it. I wanted it more than anything, it felt as though my very existence depended on it. This longing gnawed at me, haunting me in my sleep and upon my wakening. 

A simple walk or a long drive became a lifetime journey of great stories; like a continuous song. What my eyes recorded, my mind created but my physical could not produce, I simply had no means to. The ability without the machine was frustrating. The helplessness, feeling incomplete – I hated that, as though my very person needed an extension. 

So I did what most of us do. I carried on as though life was a mind full of stories never to be told. So much of it lived around me but I couldn’t have it, it was everywhere, and I knew it but yet could not own it. Maybe I was scared, terrified of what I was capable of, but still, there it was, gazing at me. I guess when you want something strong enough, it eventually finds its way to you. I kept thinking and dreaming, amused myself from all the stories told by His creation; the trees, the sunsets, the ocean and how they would constantly invite me to fellowship.

For a moment, I had become my perfect imagination. The best fantasy, the greatest story ever told – and yet reality was a nightmare.

I have a vivid recollection of walking into a room, bursting with like-minded individuals who were capturing moments. They had crazy amazing gadgets, dressed the same, and spoke the same language. They were one spirit, one mind, one people. They were an exciting lot, and appeared to be free from the one load that had burdened me, their stories were being told. They were a kult. One I wanted to belong to. As fate would have it, it brought me face to face with this particular one photographer. He seemed different, more experienced, older. His gadgets were mechanically challenged. Where most had the latest technology, his were old, torn and broken, they appeared to be custodians of many stories. He spoke many words about light, speed, image, and colour. I drank from his well of wisdom as he spoke more about life, loss, sacrifice, and the fundamental role of the photographer in telling a story… I don’t recall all the words, but I learned about the power of a camera becoming an extension of a man and in that moment, I found my peace of mind. Now, the world looks and feels different. Every moment is a story waiting to be told.

“…creativity is a series of moments that define our ability and courage to become…”

– Dedicated to the fires that devastated the Western Cape, 2017