Monday, April 4, 2011


We all have individual and collective identities that battle, fuse & combine to make up our social reality.

I've been thinking for a while about whether the alter-ego theory can be applied to groups. I've always felt that it can but haven't been able to express it.

Then I came into contact with Thesis.

Thesis a fashion/lifestyle brand that has it's base in Mofolo, Soweto, Johazardousburg, South Africa.

It's run by five Sowetan youth who've been building the movement since 16 June 2007. But let me not say too much myself: here's an amateur video I put together from my various visits to Thesis over the past 6 months:

Thesis stands out to me because of the rich concept behind; its social dimensions and the way that it is aimed at changing people's approach to life.

Thesis pays homage to the slain youth of 1976, through it's opening date.

This conceptual link interests me. It shows the passage of time and the connectedness of history to the present. The youth of 1976 were fighting against being taught in Afrikaans - a language that clashed with their sense of identity.

In many ways language is a cornerstone of cultural identity because it determines your mode of thinking. I've heard that Native Americans couldn't grasp the concept of a wave crashing; they saw the wave continuing into the land, all because their language had no punctuation. There is no full stop.

In this way, if you are forced to speak a language, you are forced into a cultural mold & ultimately you will change.

The youth of 1976 wouldn't accept this imposition - they fought and died for their right to oppose Afrikaans cultural imperialism. It was a symbolic fight; one that said: we will not allow you to define our identity.

Identity is one of the great youth conundrums. Trying to figure out where you fit, what you want to become, who you want to be.

The old and wise advise: just be yourself.

The Thesis slogan speaks to this wisdom: "wear your own identity, culture, style and experience.”

Essentially, the concept of Thesis challenges South African youth, especially in the townships, to define/redefine themselves according to their own terms & then use this as a springboard to nurture a creative culture.

The youth create the future & by addressing our identity head-on, we create ourselves.

Thesis is an alter-ego for a collective, providing a portal to escape the boxes of what we think is impossible.

You are Thesis. I am Thesis. We are Thesis.

Check out my full profile on the Thesis Social Jam Sessions in the latest issue of one small seed

1 comment:

  1. awesome, blog --- in the near future, i would like to feature some of your writing in my zines i make.
    lets connect.