Originality is the Purest Form of Expression
The beauty of living in a democracy is that we are all born with the innate right to choose. This includes the choice to be the best versions of ourselves; the choice to be “Original” (Spoiler Alert: you’re going to come across this word A LOT in the paragraphs to come).
Honestly speaking, why would you choose to be anything else? Originality, as far as I’m concerned, is the truest form of expression. My name is Tshepo and I’m the Founder of Grove Audio, a unique South African brand of handmade Boomboxes.
What does iKasi Original mean? The kasi has always been predicated on a sense of community, and communities as you know, are made up of different kinds of people. iKasi is essentially a “Collective”; a unit of authentic individual parts that strive to be and do better together. So, in simple terms, what exactly does iKasi Original mean to me? It is a ‘Collective of Authenticity’.
I was a shy and awkward kid and that fact didn’t change much when I reached adolescence. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends but I was a bit weird. Every group of kids has the weirdo right? At least that’s what I always told myself. I had a hard time fully connecting with people; even when I was around my own buddies. So, I tried adapting by becoming carbon copies of them, slowly chipping away at my own individuality.
What I failed to realise at the time is that my weirdness is my power. It is one of the things that make me Original and drives a lot of my interests in life.
I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be Original ever since starting Grove Audio. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a tinkerer and DIY type of guy at heart. I once read somewhere that “idle hands do the devil’s work” (whatever that means) but that’s never been a problem for me.
I love working on stuff no matter what it is, whether I’m breaking something apart or putting it back together. I was building my own sound systems out of old computer speakers, wood and whatever else I could find long before I started selling them. It was such a natural progression for me because it came from something I loved. It was a part of me that made me Original.
I often lose all sense of time when I’m in the creative process. There’s no knock-off time because it never feels like work. When you express your Originality, regardless of what form it takes, that is when you become the best version of yourself!
When I started selling handmade boomboxes, people thought that they were the coolest things ever (of course) but what really surprised me is that they were more interested in the person behind these creations. That’s when I realised it. These boomboxes were a product of my own creativity and in some way, a reflection of my own self.
My creativity is a big part of my Originality. This is why I always strive to push the limits by constantly improving and evolving my craft. The harder I work at this, the easier it becomes to be my truest self all the time.
To me, iKasi Original is more than just street culture and all the other definitions that others may hang on it. It is the belief that although we are all part of one collective or another, we are all authentic. It is that individual authenticity that makes the collective itself stronger.
We may not all be born with the resources to reach our full potential but we all born with choice. My advice to you is this: Choose to work hard and work towards being the best version of yourself. Choose to be Original!