These are a few of our favourite things

2013-03-27 14:47

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From cups and sneakers to pens, dolls and bank notes, Bonga Percy Vilakazi finds out why some people make a point of collecting stuff.

Sizwe ‘Reason’ Moeketsi: Rapper, Art director and designer

Obsession: Plastic cups

Four years ago Reason went to a music festival with his girlfriend.

It was boiling hot, and thankfully there were cooldrinks available at every corner.

Instead of binning the empty plastic cups, the couple kept them.

By the end of the day, Reason had a tall stack and decided he wouldn’t discard them.

“It was such a random decision. I can’t even tell you why I did it,” he says.

Collecting cups at festivals, shows, corporate events and concerts became a little hobby.

“The cups were free, and they were very handy,” he shrugs.

Reason is quite a socialiser, often throwing parties and braais at his place, and plastic cups are great for guests who are forever breaking or “borrowing” his glasses.

His initial collection of more than 60 cups has dwindled down to 15 because friends always take them home.

Fortunately, he has a new album to focus on, so he won’t be throwing too many parties – unless he wins that Sama award.

Mandisa Makalima: Music entertainment specialist

Obsession: Pens

Mandisa was one of those pupils who always had a big stationery case with lots of pens.

“There are certain pens that I fell in love with simply because my handwriting looked good each time I used them,” she says.

“I ended up having a pen for every occasion. There were pens I used for exams and others for diary entries. I love writing, so I’d get uncomfortable if I was taking notes in class with a pen that didn’t flow smoothly.

I would end up focusing on how bad my handwriting looked instead of on what I was writing.

I soon realised the best pens were expensive because they seldom ran out of ink.”

With her collection running into hundreds, Mandisa gets most of her stock from hotels, business centres, cashiers, seminars, workshops and boardroom meetings.

For her, design is key: the thinner or slimmer the pen, the better it is.

“Some pens look fancy but when you start using them, the ink is either too heavy or too light.”

Mandisa travels extensively and likes to keep her pens handy.

“Every bag in my house has at least five or more pens in it,” she says.

Carol Bosch:Home executive

Obsession: Barbie dolls

It’s difficult to miss Carol’s collection of dolls, which has become a talking point for family and friends.

“I have about 45 dolls on display and the others are stored in boxes because they are more valuable that way,” she says.

The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler and sold for only $3 at the time.

Decades later Carol was just one of millions of women who fell in love with the pretty plastic doll.

“I’m fascinated with Marilyn Monroe and ended up buying her as my first Barbie from a toyshop in Rosebank in 1993. That’s when my addiction started.”

Carol, who has four daughters (one of whom is in the film industry), has always loved Hollywood actors and historical characters.

“I also enjoy collecting characters from books,” she says.

As a frequent traveller, Carol buys a lot of her dolls in America, Singapore and the UK.

The total collection of more than 120 dolls is worth around R100 000, she says.

Tebogo ‘lepito 33’ Mogola: Associate Creative Director

Obsession: Sneakers

“Sneakers are an extension of my personality,” says Tebogo.

“I appreciate that a lot of energy goes into crafting a pair – from the art of stitching to the colour and comfort level.”

Tebogo loved sneakers as a child, but he grew up in Mamelodi and his parents didn’t have much money, so fancy shoes weren’t high on their list of priorities.

“In those days, I wore sneakers until I had to line them with paper to prevent stones from coming through,” he says.

In 2005, he began collecting them in earnest.

Tebogo’s obsession with sneakers was further fuelled after he met Sumaya Petersen, his soon-to-be wife.

“She supported my madness and passion and has become a huge collector herself.”

More than 150 pairs (and almost R150 000 later), Tebogo isn’t planning to stop.

“These days it’s about buying the exclusive stuff, limited editions, customised pairs, retro styles and designer collaborations,” he says.

“Ideally I want an entire walk-in closet filled with colour-coordinated sneakers.”

He says some of his friends understand his obsession, while others chide him for being wasteful and having more shoes than he needs.

Nina da Silva: Script Manager

Obsession: Bank notes

Nina’s father started collecting bank notes when he moved to South Africa from Portugal during the 50s.

He worked as a land surveyor and collected notes from the different countries he visited, especially from the former Portuguese colonies such as Angola and Cape Verde.

The notes were kept in a bright yellow mock-leather pouch.

“I remember the pouch clearly,” Nina says. “I’ll never forget how we’d stand at his cluttered desk as he neatly laid out the notes, as though they were precious. He loved telling stories about them and I’d listen patiently, even if I’d heard the story before. It’s like the notes became little magical ticket stubs to other places and other times.”

When her dad passed away, Nina found the yellow pouch – it had her name written on it.

“I continue collecting notes because I imagine it would make him smile and because I’d like to leave the collection to my own kids one day,” she says.

“I still keep the notes in the yellow pouch, which is now held in a safety deposit box at the bank. I have 64 notes, the oldest being from 1951 and the newest from 2012.

The collection itself isn’t worth much money, but in sentimental terms, it’s priceless. There’s something about childhood memories and special moments shared with your parents that is more precious than money.”

» Get your copy of iMag in City Press on Sundays.

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