The Other Girls

The WKND Social is becoming a Jozi institution – meet your hosts

Words: Oratile Mashazi | Photography: Chisanga Mubanga

In 2012 Nandi Dlepu, Thithi Nteta, Vuyiswa Mutshekwane and Tumi Mohale banded together to throw The WKND Social – a brunch-style day party set at varying locations in Joburg – and branded themselves, ‘The Other Girls’. The WKND Social is fast becoming a Jozi institution, and its hosts are a collective of creative and inspirational entrepreneurs shifting perceptions and blasting stereotypes at every opportunity.

In a scene dominated by male promoters, male DJs, male errthang, The Other Girls have gripped a market; and the young, creative and professional who are keen for a jumpampa can naturally be found at their parties. 

The hosts of the party are a remarkable quartet of young womyn all established and accomplished in their own right. But how does a crew of homies go from just being choms to building a booming business? Thithi explains. 

"The Other Girls started as a way to brand the hosts of the WKND Social, we started out calling ourselves 'The Collective' but at that stage, there were other people using that name and we also wanted to incorporate something about womyn into the name, and so The Other Girls was born."

Their name implies otherness and femininity, and alternative ways of being a womyn. A look at each member reveals that they share a pioneering spirit and offer powerful representations of modern femininity. 

"Each of us has chosen alternative paths or made non-conforming life choices. We all wanted to be different and innovative, so the name hints at how we're all doing something that hasn’t been done before."

Basically, to join this esteemed girl gang, you need to be accomplished and well dressed, as well as fresh, inspiring and totally unique. 

Nandi’s blogging is a refreshing take on motherhood and fashion, and it takes the form of JohoMoms – a space for mothers to share their stories and give insight into the struggles and joys of being a mom. She also runs the cuteness overdose that is Take That Mason, a blog dedicated to kiddie swag where her son Akani shows off his mother’s excellent taste.

Thithi is a star, and her blog is like a bible to young fashion disciples. Driven and ambitious with sublime personal style, she's at once self-possessed and serious, but just under her pulled-together exterior is a fountain of fun waiting to bubble over. 

Tumi, sweet Tumi, is the queen I met upon my arrival at last month’s WKND Social. She concerned herself with my joy, and introduced me to some interesting folks all in a single breath. An experienced event planner and dream architect, she embodies glamour and good times. 

Vuyiswa, the serial entrepreneur and CEO of South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners, is a corporate powerhouse and business maven. This young person has a CV to envy, as she continues to blaze trails in the fashion, marketing and events spheres.

Each of them is intriguing, and they represent the power and profit in being yourself – in being creative and commodifying your interests so that others, like you, can revel in shared experiences. It is a thing of beauty really, and so empowering to see the young, black and female coining it through fun!

The stereotypes around womynhood, womyn working together, womyn in the workplace, and womyn with children are decimated here. Their events are a necessary experience for everyone who lives in Gauteng, and the afterparty just keeps growing every month, bringing more people into Jozi’s CBD, and offering them an opportunity to drink and dance the day away in a pro-femme environment. That shit is radical and so empowering to observe. I asked Thithi what lies ahead for them and The WKND Social.

"The WKND Social and The Other Girls turn 'four' this October, so we’re working on making that spectacular and perhaps shifting perceptions around what The WKND Social is."

That's exciting news for the city and a testament to what can happen when co-operation and creativity come together. But no success story is without its challenges and in this case, they had to overcome the usual sexism of being womyn in business.

"When we started, we only hired girls to DJ, bartend and promote the party – but then we had to dispel rumours about the party being just for womyn, as our objective is for everyone to have a good time."

What's interesting is that promoters and party throwers with Y chromosomes never have to deal with such stereotyping. A party can have an all-male lineup and only men profiting from it, and no one would question who the party was for.

Sexism is rife in SA and their success story is both moving and inspiring. The Other Girls are important figures in South Africa’s creative and entrepreneurial scenes – their work breaks ground for other womyn to do the same, and for other womyn to see the power in practising feminism. How refreshing it is to see The Other Girls making choices that suit them rather than our society at large.