Nick Kaoma

Frustrated by the slow pace of studying for a BCom Accounting, writing hypothetical business plans and balance sheets, Nick Kaoma decided to hurry up the process and start a business. He dropped out and spent some time researching the Cape Town fashion and media culture, attending events such as Design Indaba and Fashion Week, while paying his way as a waiter and later as a sales executive for Cape Media. His blogs during this time drew the attention of Uhuru Communications and he progressed from feature writer for their Student Choice publication to editor at the age of 24. Finally, in 2008, he convinced Vega graduate Mzoxolo Gcwabe to become his business partner and together they started lifestyle brand Head Honcho. Thanks to clever collaborations with brands such as Miller and Play, as well as a symbiotic relationship with brand ambassadors AKA and Lulo Café, Head Honcho became the first local brand to be stocked in Shesha and Sportscene outlets all over the country and has become the voice of ambitious South African youths who aim to “live progressively”. At the 2012 South African Hip Hop Awards the Head Honcho family picked up six awards, including King of Gauteng, for Marketing Director Tebello Motsoane and Hustler of the Year for Kaoma — an apt prize for a man who once hustled his way into a meeting with design icon Gavin Rajah, with just a few sketches and some exaggerated claims about a clothing label on the production line. Having secured accounts with national chains in Nigeria and Zambia, Head Honcho is set to grow into the rest of Africa. That’s only the beginning — 31-year-old Kaoma has also just started a branding and marketing firm called 6th Avenue and is pushing ahead with his dream to take over the world, “one city, one country at a time”. — Rudi Benadé