Shoe label Bathu takes top spot for SA brands

Youth labels lead as MaXhosa takes second place

Koena Mashale Journalist
Theo Baloyi is the owner of the brand Bathu shoes.
Theo Baloyi is the owner of the brand Bathu shoes.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Youth-founded local labels Bathu and MaXhosa Africa have made a bold breakthrough in the markets, toppling some of the better known brands.

Shoe label Bathu emerged as the number one SA brand in an announcement made at the JSE this week. Designer MaXhosa Africa took the second spot at 14th annual Brand Africa 100. 

Another popular youth-founded brand, Drip, took position four, losing out to the massive brand Woolworths for the third spot. 

"Breakthrough shoe brand, Bathu, established only in 2015, has emerged as the No. 1 South African brand. Youth-founded brands established in the past decade made an audacious entry among the top 10, accounting for 40% of the rankings, and upstaging established South African brands, with MaXhosa (No. 2), Drip (No. 4) and GalXBoy (No. 9), in the mix with Woolworths (No. 3), Pick n Pay (No. 6) and Tiger Brands (No. 10).

"MaXhosa, the culture-inspired global African luxury knitwear brand is leading the pack among South African brands admired for their strong African identity. DStv dominated list of the most admired media brands in SA," said Brand Africa in a statement.

Founder and chair of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said: “The South African rankings and the 30 brands, events, campaigns and people are an insightful lens into the country’s creativity, global African leadership, competitiveness and influence.

...the performance of youth-founded brands [is] an inspiration for the growth of relevant made in South African brands and industrialisation
Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and chair of Brand Africa

“In particular, the performance of youth-founded brands [is] an inspiration for the growth of relevant made in South African brands and industrialisation.”

Brand Africa said although 68% of South Africans believe that African countries "make African better, only 33% pledged their loyalty to South African brands". 

"In the top 100 most admired brands, SA (33%) and the US (30%) account for 63% of the 14 nations building brands in SA. The apparel category, led by Bathu Shoes, MaXhosa and Drip in the top 3, accounts for 25% of the most admired brands in SA.

"Consumer, non-cyclical, led by Switzerland’s Nestle, is the second leading category at 14%, and Sports and Fitness, led by Nike, the No. 1 overall brand in SA and Africa, is third at 8%, in a diverse list of 15 categories among the top 100 most admired brands in SA."

FNB emerged as the most admired financial services brand in SA, "comprising a mix of traditional established banking brands [32%], insurance [36%] led and digital [24%] brands".

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