By Nwabisa Mazana
This article was originally published in the print Edition 8 of VARSITY.
Mziyanda aka Lohaanda, is a second year UCT student. He is also a model, creative and content creator, born in Cape Town and raised in Joburg for a few years before returning to Cape Town. After recently featured in New York Times, I caught up with the creative to learn more about him.
One glance at your IG page and one can see your love for creating content that is visually and aesthetically appealing, would you say you love creating content?
Definitely. I think that coming from a multicultural background when I was growing up exposed me to different cultures and visuals. I am a very visual person and I love a good combination of colours coming together and creating a great final product. My Instagram is a sort of visual diary for me and creating content for it brings me joy.
“Creativity is an everyday part of what I do, but to me being a creative means that with the platform I have – whatever size it is, I get to try and make a change for the better in this society we live in”
You are also a model, where do you think your passion for modelling comes from?
My aunt recently sent me film photos that she took of me at the Joburg Zoo when I was 5-years-old, and I couldn’t help but laugh and stare at 5-year-old Mziyanda in awe, because I was just so comfortable and natural in front of the camera. But I didn’t start modeling until last year, this is because I always felt too self-conscious before and I also never saw representation of Black femme queers. I never thought that I would be what any ad agency wanted. That’s why I find that true representation is so important.
People often describe the past few years as the “Rise of the Creative” what does being a creative mean to you?
Creativity is an everyday part of what I do, but to me being a creative means that with the platform I have – whatever size it is, I get to try and make a change for the better in this society we live in. Everyone’s creativeness is different but looking at the ‘rise of the creatives’ that has happened over the past couple of years makes me so happy. It’s all so youth-orientated, and we are creating and paving our own paths whilst creating a history in South Africa that does not involve hate, discrimination and ostracization, but rather a sense of community and opportunities for others like us.
Name three creatives who inspire you.
Fela Gucci and Desire Marea (FAKA), the youth – seeing young people doing amazing creative things inspires me so much and the amazing stylist Ib Kamara.
What does the future look like for Mziyanda?
The future for Mziyanda involves: more sleep, better time management, getting to work with many more great figures I admire, trying to create more spaces which are queer and Black friendly. Getting this degree (2020) and just surrounding myself with people who inspire me to better myself. If London sneaks itself into my future, then I would be the happiest person ever.
“My Instagram is a sort of visual diary for me and creating content for it brings me joy”
Words you live by?
“People try to put us down by saying “She’s doing the most”; or “he’s way too much” But, like, why would we want to do the least?” – Janet Mock.
Look out for Mziyanda in your nearest shopping mall billboards and the ASOS campaign coming soon. You can also follow him on Instagram.