'No free jeans': Malema tells designer of Tshepo Jeans to stop freebies

25 March 2021 - 13:50
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Tshepo Mohlala was told by EFF leader Julius Malema to not give away his merchandise for free.
Image: Supplied Tshepo Mohlala was told by EFF leader Julius Malema to not give away his merchandise for free.

EFF leader Julius Malema has dropped some words of wisdom for designer Tshepo Mohlala, telling the owner behind the Tshepo Jeans brand not to give out free merchandise to anyone.

Malema and Mohlala recently had a virtual sit-down on Instagram, where the pair talked about unity and building a brand.

Malema said the minds of South Africans who expect free merchandise from local brands and businesses are not liberated.

He said by supporting local businesses, not only are consumers supporting families but also putting the businesses on an international scale.

“You are fighting where you are. No free jeans for anyone. If anyone wants anything for free, it must come from Louis Vuitton or Gucci. They've got all the money,” Malema told Mohlala.

“You cannot afford to give away one jean — no favours, no nothing. If they don't want to buy from you, keep them until their mind is liberated. They will know this is where we need to buy from.”

Malema also vowed to lead by example by supporting Tshepo Jeans and promised to pay for five pairs of jeans for people on the live stream.

Tshepo Jeans reached regal status in 2019 when Meghan Markle popped into Mohlala’s store at Victoria Yards in Johannesburg to collect a custom-made jeans for herself and her son, Archie.

The official Sussex Royal Instagram account at the time said: "[The Duchess of Sussex] was struck by the local denim designer, who founded eponymous brand Tshepo, who shared this info about the logo for his line: 'The crown on my jeans represents the three ladies who raised me. Enjoy wearing this crown.' 

“Such a beautiful and touching sentiment!” 

Last year, the brand got a “stamp of approval” from US megastar Beyoncé when she featured it on her website.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Mohlala said the feature was Beyoncé's way of giving black-owned businesses exposure, especially as some are on the brink of collapse due to the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For a very long time, other countries have always thought of Africa as a jungle, but we can actually meet global standards. Beyoncé wanted to showcase Africa is a place where people can buy beautiful, high-quality clothes,” he said.