PRODUCTIVE MPUMELELO MFULA | Flat base decoded
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PRODUCTIVE MPUMELELO MFULA

 

Some people may interpret being stubborn and wanting to be better as being greedy and arrogant, not fully understanding the difficulty that the creative may be faced with – when he is left with no choice but to succeed. The stubbornness and relentlessness that a person chooses to apply and work at, to live the dream, is their birthright. Often, these qualities are easily recognised by those on the same path and they applaud and offer a great alliance. Others may pick insanity over thinking the artist is courageous and are too quick to judge a situation they don’t identify with nor understand. Bear no mind to the misinformed beliefs and pay more attention to the dream at hand – because that’s always worth the trouble it brings.



Initiating a dream from nothing is commendable and it is often quite hard to convince others when they have not seen it being done before. To test your persistence and talents, you’ll face more rejection than triumphs and just before you give in, a strange feeling will overcome and persuade you to try just a little harder and slip open that door you thought was too far from your reach.
Mpumelelo Frypan Mfula is intuitive about a lot of the things he does and chooses to invest in, including himself. Growing up, he didn’t have a lot but had just enough to go by. It didn’t help his confidence when he felt the pressure from his friends and so badly wanted to afford the things they already had. He felt the need to make things happen and that’s when the entrepreneur in him broke through.


“I believe I was always an entrepreneurial creative, yet the intention was not to participate in entrepreneurship. I did this to equalise my financial status to be the same as the other kids I went to primary school with. In Grade 5, I used to sell sweets to my class mates and later sold music band badges – you know the ones that you could find at music store counters. The idea behind it was for me to get some money so I can buy myself sneakers and other things some kids were afforded by their parents. My parents were unemployed for the longest time.”

“My upbringing definitely had a huge influence on my career choice. Witnessing the reality of close family and community members being retrenched from their long-term workplace and hearing their constant complains about unfairness at work informed my decision to rather go into entrepreneurship. My intention has always been to have greater control of my destiny and autonomy and not have it in the hands of some other human who may be irresponsible and selfish with my future.”


Mpumelelo had no intention of looking for work and was already planning to start his own business after he graduated from the University of Witswatersrand, when he received his degree qualification in Political Sciences. Surprisingly, being a creative entrepreneur and a political sciences graduate fit perfectly into his world. “I apply both of these abilities on a daily basis. Every part of our lives is informed by some or other politics and political matters. Having being trained to be a critical political thinker, gives me an advantage of bringing relatively critical ideas and it allows me to observe how people relate to situations and the surrounding environment. Responding to issues through creativity and entrepreneurship is always fun and exciting.”

“Founding and starting up the RHTC (Returning Home to Create) online store just over two years ago was honestly very intuitive at first and it gained structure over time. The online version of the store is only a year old. I was frustrated and impatient by the idea of having to wait for employment after graduating. So, instead of working and convincing companies that I had the skills and ideas they required, I decided to Return Home to Create with my own ideas and skills by approaching my friends and propose that I distribute their street-wear brands through my website. It was risky on both ends because they had to trust me with their products and the work they’ve put into their businesses.”
The team behind the continued success of RHTC online store share big dreams for themselves, and for each other. “The right people came together and it happened organically. 



I’ve had an eye on a couple of the people I wanted to work with and the brands I'm currently in business with now. I’m patient enough to either wait for the right time to approach them or wait for them to come my way. It’s an organic process at most times and it makes the connection better.”
"Our customers often refer to us as homies. They often buy from us but the purchase isn’t only in monetary terms and the exchange of products. We chill and converse and that’s how we discovered that RHTC represents much more than just a store to a lot of our friends. They relate their struggles and winnings to ours and we do the same with their hustles. Knowing that we are important to the urban and street culture gives us the will to strive, continue to improve and keep going.”



A few weeks ago, the hardworking and artistic RHTC team launched their first online advertisement campaign dubbed, Let's Play Outside, in Braamfontein and Melville, and had the last and third screening at Sebokeng. The launch included bicycle rides, indigenous games and discussions by the youth, for the youth. “The ideas for the advert campaign started when I bought my bicycle two years ago and I discovered how riding it gave me easier access to several of Joburg’s spots including the dangerous parts - even dodgy characters would greet me. It made me realise that everyone has childhood memories and that playing is something all of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It’s a universal language that we at RHTC use to communicate and use to build more relationships with people.” 


“Before we screened the advert, we set the tone and the energy around the launch. When people saw it, it put all the work that went in to the planning into a greater context. They appreciate the creativity and commitment that went into the project to produce the final result. The response has been awesome.” The founder of the street culture online store believes in the conversional way of employment but doesn’t believe it’s the way to make a living out of your passion. “I do believe in it, however, I don’t believe in it being the only and first option. There’s a lot more opportunity for employment in entrepreneurship, because I feel better when I have an ownership stake in most of what I’m invested in.”


"There are several benefits that accompany the challenges of being an entrepreneur. However, the most valuable asset is time. The time taken to develop the dream is the most important in business. When you are given the opportunity to develop your own business skills with less interference, take advantage of it. The best way is to start as young as possible when you have all the energy and ideas.”


The story behind Mpumelelo's nickname signifies his lovable and infectious charisma and the energetic spirit and flair he encompasses. "I like to tell made up interesting stories and I tell them to everyone I know. I do it mostly for amusement but to also see what kind of reaction I’d get from people. Plus, I like the attention too. Frypan is pronounced 'Fraaipan' and it simply means Friday in my hood at Vosloorus, that's where I’m from."


When people think of ideas most unlikely and least encouraged by conventional minds, that’s when brilliant breakthroughs emerge. When everything else suggests that you stop, focus on the good things that should come from it. Mpumelelo Frypan Mfula acts on ability, to change his world and influence others just as well. So he's a Productive creative who lives to create and build on significant dreams.


“Art is how we humans find creative ways to respond to our conditions, be it good or really terrible circumstances. The mind of an artist is like a child, we create on the same streets our homes are built on and in turn change our own lives.” – Mpumelelo Frypan Mfula


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