Ketja masks are now being sold to some of South Africa’s biggest corporates including Afrika Tikkun, Momentum and Coca-Cola.
Photo Cred: Bafana Ketja

Ketja’s masks are now being sold to some of South Africa’s biggest corporates including Afrika Tikkun, Momentum and Coca-Cola.


South Africa (26 May 2020) – Bafana Ketja used his unique blend of self-belief, raw talent and fashion design training to turn crisis into opportunity by designing, producing and selling face masks which have not only created additional jobs in his community but attracted the attention of several large South African brands.

“I am a kickass designer. That is the word on the street.”

These are the confident words of 29-year-old Orange Farm resident, Bafana Ketja.

Ketja is a graduate of Rhiza Babuyile, a non-profit organisation supported by Momentum Metropolitan dedicated to turning townships into economically independent communities. In 2015 he joined their business incubation programme, focusing on fashion and design.

“Rhiza Babuyile taught me creative design, pattern making and garment construction. But more than that, they taught me about the business end of fashion and clothing manufacturing,” explains Ketja.

A combination of these skills and Ketja’s self-determination stood him in good stead not only to secure a solid job in his field at township entrepreneurial organisation, Township Fleva but also to start his own business and be agile enough to jump on the opportunity to create additional revenue streams through the design of much-needed facemasks.

With COVID-19 restrictions, business had all but stopped with his own brand, Kumkaan By Sirvillah, as well as at his job with Township Fleva.

“So, when I was on lockdown, I created three different mask samples, and they were approved. I was surprised and happy to hear that we were to start production on 5000,” he says.

Ketja’s masks are now being sold to some of South Africa’s biggest corporates including Afrika Tikkun, Momentum and Coca-Cola.

“People think they don’t have to expect anything from you because you are from a township. What nonsense. I am proof, and I want to inspire others in my community to reach their dreams. All it takes is a little hustle and lot of heart,” says Ketja.

As part of the group’s CSI, Momentum Metropolitan’s mission is to streamline the journey to success for every student that walks into Rhiza Babuyile’s doors despite the odds. In just two years, Momentum Metropolitan has placed 927 young people through these programmes, spending over R16 million on upskilling South Africa’s youth.

Nkosinathi Mahlangu, Youth Employment Portfolio head at Momentum Metropolitan says that a key part of the programming is bringing out and celebrating the creativity and talent that already exists in all the students.

“When they see this in themselves, the power of self-belief takes over and works its magic. Bafana is a fantastic example of this, “says Mahlangu.

Rashuping Morake from Rhiza Babuyile says, “We develop our students to become more resilient for the future through robust support, and Momentum Metropolitan is a big part of that community. Bafana is the perfect example of a student that took the skills he learned and applied them through an entrepreneurial approach and good old-fashioned hard work. Now that’s upskilling.”

Growing up in Orange Farm, Ketja is one of five siblings, has one parent, and is currently the only person in the family actually working. But he’s confident that his future is looking bright and concludes with some advice to other entrepreneurs…

“The key is consistency. Just keep doing your best. Delivering your best work. People will recognise you for that.”

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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