By Lesedi Masoko
It all started off as an initiative aimed at changing the culture of self-hate and tribal prejudice within the community, a culture that is foreign to what our African matriarchs taught us about Ubuntu – “I am because you are.” Tees & Gees, founded by Mpho Mopai, an accountant by profession and an entrepreneur at heart, is not just a t-shirt store but, it is a store that sells t-shirts that are purposed to ooze African companionship.
It is unfortunate that African people in this present day, are still mentally chained by a spirit of self-hate and discrimination against one other, particularly within the Black community. Africa has been painted to be a nation not worthy of glory and self-embracement, and that was partially what the colonial iniquity aimed for. In addition to that, Africans have been named inferior, incompetent, and inadequate and sadly, we Africans, believe these lies because as Mopai argues, “we do not own our own media.” Therefore, “Tees & Gees is my way of expressing my truth, my opinion, my thoughts, and my propaganda against the discriminative social ills that were imposed on to us the colonialism,” says Mopai.
“Africans need to be proud of themselves, their continent, and their environment – everything African,” Mopai continues. Besides Africa being considered as the weakest economy in terms of development, we should still believe ourselves to be as superior and powerful as we are because the fact is, the West is what it is today because of Africa, because of the natural wealth that Africa possess, minerals, gold, diamonds, food, etc, that they took from us. We cannot, in our right minds, begin to think that we are truly unable to restore our own strength – a strength that is very much alive in our midst but is hidden, solely because we have neglected our values as an African people.
The kas’lam designline, meaning ‘my hood’, from Tees & Gees is purposed to inform tourists about the hood as it is composed by the names of the township areas. Certain townships are paired together on the T-shirts because the idea here was to express that, “townships have very close similarities and therefore, we are the same and we are one, even though others may think differently” says Mopai. Not only is it a way to embrace the hood and retell a new story about the people in the hood. The T-shirts are meant to enable people to feel relatable and see themselves as true companions who are cut with the same knife and who are graced under by the same sun. The objective is to enforce a sense of unity as an African people. This explains why Mopai says he aspires to become the dominant retail in branded T-shirts, for the sole purpose to inspire people to understand the depth of collaborative thinking, unity, self-love, and ultimately, to restore our true culture of Ubuntu.
The Tees & Gees store is located in Cape Town however, there is an online delivery service available for those who wish to purchase from other places across South Africa. Tees & Gees sells a range of clothing products that stretch from hoodies, T-shirts, and beanies etc.
Should you feel intrigued by the passion of embracing Africa, be sure to follow the link below to shop online.
Power to Africa! #Promoting Africa Positively.
Tees & Gees online store link / Instagram: https://instagram.com/teesngees?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=