#BathuXSomizi | Here's why Somizi is big on supporting local
"I believe we are sitting on wealth and we are the owners of that wealth, and if we emphasise and spread the message of supporting local, we are going to go far."
"I am a big fan of supporting local, and as much as some people might say 'Hai, Somizi wears Louis Vuitton', I think I have a great balance and I make sure the scale of local is above international brands."
These were the words of media personality Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung who explained to TshisaLIVE why he chose to collaborate with the founder of Bathu sneakers Theo Baloyi.
The pair debuted their collaborative sneaker range #BathuXSomizi at a posh Covid-19 friendly event on February 11, in Midrand, Johannesburg.
"I believe we are sitting on wealth and we are the owners of that wealth, and if we emphasise and spread the message of supporting local, we are going to go far. Because we don't realise, not just as South Africans but as Africans, that we actually don't need the rest of the world.
"So it starts with one person at a time, one collaboration at a time and the direction and the aim is for our great grandchildren to completely support each other and own their products."
With the sneakers being available in four luxe shades, gold, diamond, platinum and ruby red, Somizi was left undecided as to which shoe design he loved the most.
"Asking me which shoe I love the most is like asking me to tell you which child I love the most. It's hard to tell as I love them all. I can rock the various range of sneakers based on the outfit that I'll be wearing that day."
Somizi reflected on a time when Theo tried his luck by gifting him a pair of sneakers.
"We are excited, I sent him [Theo] a voice note yesterday telling him how surreal this is ... because we come a long way. Bathu is about five or six years old and he came to me at the beginning stages and he gave me a pair of shoes.
"This is a guy I didn't know from a bar of soap and he was confident but nervous I'm sure. Two years ago we thought of collaborating but it did not work because the designs were just not cracking it – and then last year we both had an aha moment, where we were like, 'here's an idea'".
Somizi is known for his flamboyant fashion taste and Theo explained that when he started his business, he approached Somizi and asked him to advocate for his brand. Right after the reality TV star posted the shoes, people started calling in asking for "Somizi's shoe".
"Every time I would post the shoes, people would literally call in and ask for Somizi's shoe and for about two or three years people would always refer to the shoes as that.
"And from there our business grew. So, I went back to him and said, 'Look Somizi, people are already associating the merch with you, how about we come up with a shoe that embodies you. Like now, you can see the glitter, you can see the gold, you can see the flair, hence we have the Somizi shoe range today."
The sneakers are priced at R1,800 a pair.
Here are some of the reactions on Twitter: