With hard work and consistent hustle, Sisanda Mgedezi and his cohort of talented creatives, The ABC, are paving their own road to success
Words: Tshiamo Seape
Self Portraits by Sisanda Mgedezi
Cape Town’s Sisanda Mgedezi is a young creative with the heart to hustle and the skills to bring his dreams to fruition. Sisanda, along with the creative agency he co-founded, The ABC, have just completed the biggest project in the short life of their company: Sisanda and the team recently helmed the art direction and photography for AKA’s announcement as the face of Reebok Classic Africa.
While not an overnight success their ascension to the top has been quite blistering. In just over two years Sisanda and the ABC have taken a collection of hobbies and turned them into a cohesive team who have worked with the best and brightest in the industry. At the request of The Threaded Man’s Siya Beyile, Sisanda was tasked to capture some of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week‘s most exciting moments, (have we mentioned that his work has been featured in GQ South Africa?).
We caught up with Sisanda after the Reebok announcement to pick his brain on his work, what drives him, and of course, working with AKA.
Photographs: Sisanda Mgedezi and Zeus Feni
The Wire: So, for those not in the know, who are you and what do you do?
Sisanda: I’m Sisanda Mgedezi, and I’m an art director and a photographer.
How did you first get into photography?
A couple of years ago I started taking pictures with friends. Soon after that I started hanging out with photographers and realised people are actually making money off of this! Not long after that I got together with my friends, Zeus and SJ, and we started our own agency and from there it just grew.
Can you tell us a little more about your agency?
Well, it’s called The ABC. Basically, what we do is content creation – we create content for ourselves and for other people. We’re trying to build it into a fully fledged production agency, but right now our main source of revenue is content creation.
Who have you enjoyed working with the most?
Siya Beyile (The Threaded Man) and Asanda Sizani (Fashion and Beauty Director of ELLE Magazine). Siya invited me to shoot at Mercedes Benz Fashion week earlier this year. I got to shoot Maxhosa by Laduma which was one of the highlights of the show.
What is your favourite thing to shoot?
Fashion editorials. I like telling stories. I like the idea of telling a story that has a message.
Photographs: Sisanda Mgedezi
Moving back to the ABC for a bit, can you give us more information about the members and their roles?
Within the group, I am the art director and photographer. We all come up with concepts and I mainly focus on execution. Zeus is the “suit”. He’s also a photographer, but he comes from a client service background, so he’s good at handling logistics. SJ handles photography and copywriting.
Your most recent work, Shooting the Reebok Classic announcement with AKA, is a pretty big deal. How did this all come about?
I have a friend, Lebogang, whose has friends in AKA’s camp, and she told him about our work. He (AKA) told us he was coming down to Cape Town to do a shoot. They didn’t tell us what the shoot was, they just said we are doing a shoot and we want you guys to help. Only when we met up with the team did they tell us what we were doing. We met them on Sunday, did location scouts on Monday and we shot the pictures on Tuesday.
Did you get any merch?
(Smiling) Yeah. Zeus got the better ones, but yeah.
Gow is AKA to work with?
He’s very animated – I actually wasn’t expecting that. When you meet celebrities they’re usually trying to act very cool and they only open up when the camera is one, but that dude has the same vibe the whole time.
Photographer: BlaQ_Smith // Art Direction: Sisanda Mgedezi
What drives you?
My goals. I want to be a feature film director. I want a golden statue – I’m trying to get an Oscar.
So, what’s next for you and The ABC?
I’m really trying to get into film, so what’s next is more music videos and short films. The team is going to continue to grow. We want to turn the ABC into our full-time hustle. That was the goal for this year and that’s what we will be focusing on in the future.
Lastly, what advice can you give to up-and-comers in the creative industry?
I tell this to everyone: don’t be scared of sharing your ideas – even if they’re shit. Don’t worry if it’s shit. You’ll eventually get to the idea that you want and that’s when you make connections. It’s really important to connect with people.