It is often said that a business idea begins with an unfulfilled need; this is the success story of Gomora Wear. From it come valuable life lessons.
How Gomora Wear began
Teddy and Ntokozo are teenage boys in the fictional story Gomora, which is set in Alexandra Township, Gauteng. Their friendship is the offshoot from a traumatic event, as did their eventual business launch. At the very beginning of Gomora, Teddy is shown as the academically challenged son of an alcoholic woman. While his mother, Zodwa, checks into a rehab centre, Teddy is taken in by Melusi and Gladys Dlamini, he, the Gomora Secondary School principal and, she, a social worker who is determined to save as many troubled people as she can. Living in close proximity, under the roof of the Dlamini double storey house, Teddy and Ntokozo became friends. Alcoholism and child neglect brought them together.
After Ntokozo and Teddy were arrested for driving without a license, a fortnight ago, Melusi gave them a rather strange punishment; driving lessons. Where is the punishment there you ask? He took their phones and sold them to pay for the driving lessons. Everyone knows that the urban teen would rather lose a lung before having their phone taken away. As further punishment, the boys were banned from watching television for a month. Breakfast was to be bread, peanut butter and water while Melusi and Gladys ate bacon, eggs and sausages whose aroma further tortured the boys. But Teddy and Ntokozo must secretly have said dankie Melusi for the punishment, because this is how the idea for Gomora Wear came about. Stay with me while I take a detour.
Mohato haunts Thathi
It is fitting that the Gomora Secondary senior pupils are currently reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth. “Never shake thy gory locks at me” – said Macbeth to the ghost of Banquo.
As Mam Sonto and Thathi tried to dispose of Mohato’s body – killed by Thathi in self defence – a new menace entered their lives. Detective Mahlasela has mosquito like tendencies, always buzzing and buzzing around Sonto’s tavern like he can’t find crime elsewhere in South Africa. With Mahlasela keeping a close eye on Sonto and Thathi, apparently on suspicion of selling drugs, the mother and daughter crime duo had to put Mohato’s burial plans on ice – pun intended. They stashed Mohato in the deep freezer and padlocked the lid.
But Mohato proved to be just as troublesome, if not an even a bigger nuisance in the afterlife. The freezer soon malfunctioned, drawing the single-minded attention of Pretty. Sonto literally had to pull Pretty away from the freezer, fearing that the corpse would be discovered. The obnoxious detective, aptly named Mahlasela, stopped by for yet another unannounced visit, giving Sonto and Thathi further cause for concern.
Later, the freezer went missing, with Mohato still in it. In great panic, Sonto and Thathi ran around until they discovered that Pretty had sent the dead freezer – along with an even deader Mohato – for repair. Sonto quickly recalled the freezer from the fridge mechanics, thankfully, before Mohato’s body had been found.
At the Molefe house during breakfast, Thathi had a Macbeth and Banquo moment when Mohato’s ghost appeared to her. Even in death, Mohato is still condescending, calling Thathi “Princess,” a name to which she always objected.
Pretty and Sbonga were wide-eyed with confusion as she screamed at nobody to “shut up!”
That's suspicion planted in Pretty’s head, right there. #Gomora
— Mzansi Magic (@Mzansimagic) October 14, 2020
What is quite baffling, if not hilarious, is that Mam Sonto, who is Mohato’s ex lover, easily carried on with life, as though Mohato hadn’t been killed before her eyes while Thathi, who despised Mohato with every bone in her body, is falling apart. It is also worth noting that even as he took his last breath, Thathi held him on her lap and begged him to keep fighting for his fading life.
Where is MyLord?
If Detective Mahlasela is the proverbial mosquito in your ear, then Sdumo, Mohato’s disciple, is like a dog with a bone. Twice he showed up in Sonto’s office, asking for the whereabouts of Mohato. Sonto suggested that Mohato must have kept the entire payment from the car heist for himself and fled town without paying Sdumo. When Sdumo enquired with former gang affiliate, Lindokuhle, he also came out blank. Also searching high and low for Mohato was the parole officer. He too has no leads.
Back to business
Creating Gomora Wear
When you start a business on limited resources, always begin with what you have. With planning and creativity, you can find a solution to whatever problems arise. And problems, viewed through innovative lenses, are also the solution. How many times have you read about someone who built a gym because they could not afford to buy weightlifting equipment? How many examples do you know of women who began a line of hair products in response to their own need for hair care?
Langa, the third member of Ntokozo and Teddy’s squad has a phone whose superior camera makes him a sought after photographer among the slay queen click of Gomora Secondary. Ntokozo immediately saw an opportunity. He proposed that the three friends venture into photography and picture editing as a business. But their plans were ruined when Principal Dlamini insisted that they work for free. Still determined to make money, the boys thought of another idea. T-shirt sales. Gomora Wear was born.
Stay with me…
Detective Mahlasela attacks
After his previous visit, Thathi and Sonto managed to talk Detective Mahlasela into walking away. But the pesky cop returned. This time he came in the company of several uniformed officers and a search warrant to back him up. A thorough search yielded zero drugs. However I felt the scriptwriters missed something here. If Mahlasela was serious about finding narcotics, surely he should have brought the sniffer dogs.
Mahlasela’s search for contraband seemed to have ended. Until he spotted the locked freezer. Open it, he demanded. Thathi had a nervous attack, real or fake, who knows.
Gomora Wear launches
The best way to launch a business on limited resources is starting with what you have. Langa, Ntokozo and Teddy had the graphic design knowhow. The startup capital was not a problem; Langa put up R2000 from his savings. The school media club was the source for laptops and other necessary equipment. After making stencils, the boys ironed on the Gomora Wear logo to the fronts of plain white T-shirts in Ntokozo’s bedroom, where the idea had begun.
Looks like the boys finally get a breakthrough, and customers are already lining up. #Gomora
— Mzansi Magic (@Mzansimagic) October 15, 2020
Every business needs a marketing strategy. The boys took selfies and posted them to generate hype. They also sold T-shirts to influential people, such as the teaching staff. Sometimes it is important to tease the market. The outspoken Sisanda, who had been openly sceptical of the Gomora Wear business, lined up to buy a shirt. But Ntokozo would not give her one. Along with Principal Dlamini, Sisanda was placed on a waiting list. Everyone knows that the worst thing for a teenager is to feel left out. Create hype and scarcity at the same time.
Having sold out their initial stock, Ntokozo and Teddy splurged on brand new phones.
Life imitates art
The producers of Gomora may have stumbled upon a money printing machine. What is simply a small part of the story plot has potential for making extra income. Capitalizing on their popularity in the late 1990s, American hiphop group Wu Tang Clan created Wu Wear, a line of shoes and clothes whose reputation matched their music. At his music making peak, rapper-producer, Sean “Diddy” Combs also launched the Sean John clothing line. Jay-Z branched into different ventures which included Roca-Wear. Rapper, 50 Cent began G-Unit clothing and most recently, rapper and TV presenter Boity released her eponymous fragrance while DJ Sbu’s radio fame gave birth to clothing line Vandal and Mofaya energy drink.
Perhaps Gomora Wear could be brought to life outside the small screen and into clothing stores countrywide, if not across Africa.
Till next week, my pen is capped
Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30pm on Mzansi Magic, DSTV
Images from Twitter
A fan of natural African hair with a love for books and television. If it’s on Mzansi Magic… I’ve probably seen it.
My pen is capped