A well dressed man is a sight worth a second glance, but a group of them is worth your attention. While driving along Main Road and taking in the mountains, I spotted them. Richly hued suits adorning men with an aura of suave and self-assured demeanor that you can’t fake.
September 3rd was the launch of Cape Town’s Afrodandy Social Club at the Cape Grace Hotel. A ‘dandy’, is someone who dresses well, carries themselves with elegance, and behaves even better. The Afrodandy, is an individual who subscribes to dandyism, however with an African twist.
Choosing a lifestyle
Four Afrodandies based out of the Western Cape, Tony Mac, Menzi Mcunu, Zola Msizi, and Don Sedumedi, have banded together to launch the social club. “People think dandies are for pictures or display,” Zola said in his welcome address.
To Zola Mzisi, “Being a dandy is a form of good manners.” He relates that one’s outer appearance will influence how they behave. The 23 year old model and student does understand that being a dandy doesn’t necessarily make you a good person though. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t hopeful that he’ll be someone’s inspiration one day.
For Tony Mac, being a dandy is a medium to connect to people. The photographer, turned dandy, also relayed the importance of understanding the history of dandyism in African contexts. He relates that being a dandy is not synonymous with wealthy. As we all know, some of the wealthiest people don’t have a bone of personal style.
For Menzi Mcunu, owner of Afrocentric Gentlemvn, prison systems are a part of how black men are portrayed in society, and being a dandy directly contradicts that. “Wearing a suit, being a dandy, is a form of resistance to that [stereotype].”
Don Sedumedi was very clear on his sentiments about the dandy lifestyle. For him, dandyism is an art medium and he is the performance artist. “Telling an African story from a sartorial lense” is how Don, a Vintage Dandy, found his passion for being a dandy in the first place.
Creating a club
Being in a Dandy space almost feels like the after mass, tea and cakes period at church. What made it more appealing than tea and cake after church was the network. The four young men banded together to form the club as a way to connect the Afrodandies in the area to the different networks around Cape Town. With some of them touting titles like businessman, model, photographer, writer, creative director, and more, the Afrodandy Social Club is laden with potential and a powerful creative and business network.
The club is a space to connect Afrodandies of different backgrounds to each other. More so , it is a place to stimulate prosperity and growth among each other. A formidable aspect of the club is its commitment to not being a ‘boys club’. The founders admit they have not seen any formalized writings to guide them on how women are represented in dandyism. Nevertheless, they encourage women who identify as dandies to join the club.
Launching the LouxMac Legacy bow tie
One of the aims of the Afrodandy Social Club is to network and launch new initiatives. On the day, Tony Mac and Lourens “Loux The Vintage Guru” Ghebardt launched their Jozi inspired bow tie in collaboration with BeWooden. BeWooden is a handmade accessories brand based out of the Czech Republic. They spotted Tony and Loux online and hoped to explore the Afrodandy scene more with the duo.
For Loux and Tony, Johannesburg is an African hub where Afrodandies are groomed. They believe that the Dandy movement may have originated in Jozi, although there is minimal evidence of this. More important is that Joburg is a hometown for both dandies. On top of creating a stylish, handcrafted, wooden bow tie, a portion of the tie’s proceeds will be donated to Tony’s children’s foundation, the TH Children’s Foundation.
We can only wait to see what more comes out of the Afrodandy Social Club and the LouxMac Legacy collaboration. For now, at least, Cape Town’s dandy community has one space to connect every first Sunday of the month.