02.11.2015

A Pace For Radio

Keke Mahlelebe, voice of Superbalist's ads, stays busy

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Nick Gordon

We know this guy, Keke Mahlelebe, a digital planner who works at the ad agency that’s doing our ads, and who also just so happens to fit into our target market. There are millennials, and then there's Keke – I mean, guy studied at Vega, has a music blog on Wordpress and a photo blog on Tumblr and a social media presence that you may or not really get where he goes by @fridgepizza on Twitter and Instagram. What’s more, he DJs as well!

Long story short, when it came to our first radio ad we didn’t have to look very far to find the voice of our brand.

Problem was, while it was easy to find our voice and get him to drop bars in studio, trying to lock him down for the shoot and interview proved nearly impossible. Guy’s just that busy, with a work ethic second to none. And so it was that our photographer found himself weaving through Cape Town's lunch hour traffic to shoot Keke in three key locations: his office, his house and his favourite Chinese takeaway spot…

So tell us about the radio ad, Keke.

“I’m a young dude doing some things, you know. The guys working on the radio ad got me in the studio once, and I went in thinking I was going to record one of the most fire mixtapes of the summer, and came out with some very tight radio ads. It was great! We had a bunch of fun.”

Give it a listen and you’ll agree that our radio ad sounds very anti-radio, and that’s thanks to Keke’s deadpan delivery. Forget all that hyper-excited, over-enunciated clutter breaking up the Top 40 chart-toppers on high rotation. Keke flips the script, and sounds just as he always does: decidedly unphased by the chaotic happenings around him.

Now let's get something straight: Keke’s isn’t a professional voice-over artist. He's a real live youth and, like he says, “the whole process had me feeling some type of way. I even wrote some scripts on my way home from Junior one night. What a time to be alive!”

So what are some of the benefits of being a big shot radio man, you getting those Gareth Cliff groupies, yet?

“Yeah, my colleagues are hyped about it. They think I sound like some kinda soulful Rico Suave and it’s fantastic. But other than that, yeah, a few homies have messaged me about it. No groupies yet, but I think that’s okay. Like how do radio groupies even chise? Leaving messages on my answering machine? Idk?”  

And then what about all those jokesters saying that youv’e got a face for radio?

“Ayy LMAO. Fortunately haven’t had any radio haters if that’s what you’re asking. Looking forward to getting some though. Maybe I’ll even get into a radio beef! Like does the radio game have that controversy? I saw DJ Fresh on a plane the other day wearing some red ass gym shoes, and I was very tempted to ask him ‘WHAT ARE THOOOOSE?’ If only I did. I feel like that could have sparked some Kobe.”

And it’s more than just Keke’s golden voice and fine taste in footwear that Fresh should feel threatened by. He’s also shown an aptitude for Djing – the live-and-in-person kind – which all started at the Winston in Durban where, together with Joni Blud, Keke formed a duo called Double Ass Grab, playing everything from Wavves to Gucci Mane. Nowadays he throws a monthly thing at Yourstruly, Kloof St. called Sports, where together with Matt the manager, is the resident’s +1 guest act. Big things only.

“I usually just play Kimbie stinkers and other UK runoff. So yeah, being a pro DJ isn’t an aspiration of mine, but I’ll forever enjoy playing the music I like at unassuming venues. Side note – anyone with the art gallery plug reading this, hmu. Let’s get a #campaign rolling.”

We’ve spoken about guy’s day job, his golden voice and the requisite Cape Town cool guy sideline Djing gig, but what about the finery with which he drapes himself?

“No aesthetic here, but I can’t stop buying navy clothing. It’s great. When it comes to outfits, I like to keep it simple. Don’t let your clothes speak louder than you. Unless you’re moving in with your aunty and uncle in Bel-Air. If the fit is right, then I’m happy. I don’t spend hours finessing a look, I know what looks peng on me, and that dictates the purchase. Also, the Four Pins TL keeps man informed.”  

Look 1 | Professionally Peng

“You can’t work a 9-5 and not look like you know what you’re doing. A good collared shirt shows that you buy sliced bread, and have a tax number. 8am meetings inspired this outfit.”

Look 2 | Friends

“Supporting local is imperative. My good homie Mat Kieser is killing the game with his menswear brand, Sol-Sol. Man keeps me drenched in the most champagne lux threads, and I appreciate that. These pieces are from his ‘Little in Japan’ collection. No excessive patterns or goretex fabrics here, just good men's basics.”

Outfit 3 - *listens to Skepta once*

“Ever seen how the man dem in South London dress? Yeah, well Skeppy is at the forefront of this whole grime ting and teenagers all over Ldn are dressing like him, and it’s amazing. Lit how much pull some people have… Anyway, I really hopes he comes out with a line of very rare, very expensive full body durags. I can see the memes already. But yeah, all you need is some black clothing and pair of 'what are thoses' to channel this look. Don’t let cash flow issues get in the way of helping man look nice like Puff Daddy on a speedboat. This one’s inspired by the Long Street bouncer aesthetic.”

While Keke doesn’t claim to know much about fashion (we suspect that he’s too humble to admit to being a style authority) what he is savvy to is the street crew scene, and says “boy better know Jhb is highly skilled at assembling crews. Cpt has its own squad mentality too. S/o all the 3 credits on their MyCiti card crew.”

“Crew love aside, everyone here is on their own tip. Me and the lads at culinary squad are a close group of homies but none of us dress the same. One homie dresses like he’s Nozinja’s son, another like he in The Beatles, and another like he’s playing his breakthrough role in Vampire Diaries, and that has me so hyped for real! Like, we’re all exposed to the same stuff yet still manage to flex our own aesthetics.”

And if he could only wear one thing for the rest of his life?

“Navy. Because it makes my skin glisten.”

My face turns red after asking Keke the next question on my list, which shows a chink in my street credentials: What’s the oldest piece of clothing you own and why can’t you get rid of it?

“That’s musty, bro! Man has to stay dipped in the finest clothing.”

Fair enough, and that’s where we end things because I’ve already taken up a large portion of Keke’s time and he can’t exactly timesheet this chat.

So we’ll leave you with that: Don’t be musty, keep things simple while staying dipped in the finest clothing, and you’ll be peng. Or at least try and look like Puff Daddy on a speedboat. That or a Long Street bouncer.