Exploring Urban Heritage in Plett: A look at Bashman Movement 

Published: September 18th, 2019

Wandisile’s Plett

A blog by Wandisile Sebezo.

Exploring Urban Heritage in Plett: Clothes that merge fashion with culture, a look at Bashman Movement

To commemorate Heritage Month, I thought it best to look at “Urban Heritage”. In this first part of our ‘Exploring Urban Heritage’ series, I look at township streetwear through the lens of Plett’s very own “Bashman Movement”.

Whether you’re in Khayelitsha, Cape Town or in Mdantsane, East London, or perhaps in Tembisa, Johannesburg or maybe even Umlazi in Durban, three out of five young people you meet are probably wearing locally branded t-shirts.

When it comes to clothes that merge fashion with culture as seen in the bigger cities of South Africa – Plett is sure not about to be left out.

These days, it seems, you don’t need to have a large following on Twitter to have your voice heard, a mere t-shirt is enough. From political statements to your favourite pop stars, just about anything can be printed.

I sat down with one of the youngsters from Kwano, Xolisile Peter, who is in the business of t-shirt branding to chat about this new business model that seems to be catching township kids’ attention by storm.

Bashman Movement is a local streetwear brand based in Kwano; started by three friends, Xolisile Peter, Brian Lukwe and Vuyisani Jikinqina while scattered at different institutions of higher learning at the time of their start-up.

Bashman movement in Plett

In an economy where unemployment sits at just over 27%, with a direct impact on young people in particular, it has forced some youngsters to take an interest in entrepreneurship. Perhaps it is their only way to survive – hustling” as it known colloquially in the hood.

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘hustling’ as “making money out of everything no matter what it is”. It is also defined by the same dictionary as “something that mostly happens in ghettos where people don’t have much, so they need to hustle.”

Some hustle to make a quick buck, but for Bashman, “the inspiration behind the brand was the hunger for change in our community.” They told me they wanted “better opportunities” so that they could “sharpen and better utilise their skills for the benefit of the community they live in”.

They do this through modelling management, graphic design and event management in and around Kwano.

When I asked them whether a small town like Plett was embracing this concept and their brand in particular, they told me that “street wear is a big part of identity in Plett… it is how we stand out, although it is not the largest fashion sense in Plett, people do get curious about new things and Bashman always brings new things.”

Their concern is one shared by many small entrepreneurs across the board – a lack of resources and opportunities for young people in business. Our entrepreneurs believe that with proper support, they could do wonders in making streetwear flourish in Plett.

Theirs might be urban and far from the traditional which is considered normal, but young people today, like the Bashman Movement crew, are changing the face of what culture used to look like. This is the new normal, and kudos to them for helping young people “stand out.”

Wandisile's Plett