Introducing David J Kabamba, a male model hailing from Johannesburg. With his striking presence, David has graced the catwalks of renowned fashion brands like House of Ole, David Tlale, and Ephymol. His captivating image has also been featured in esteemed publications such as GQ magazine, Style Joburg, and Voila. Additionally, he has posed for prestigious editorial campaigns for Truworths, Spree, and H&M.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, David was discovered at the tender age of 16 while waiting for a bus at Gandhi Square. Since then, he has skyrocketed to become one of the most sought-after models in the industry, earning him a substantial following on social media.
Muzi: Take us back to the beginning…How did you become a model and what was your big break?
David: I was discovered by Kgomotso Sibeko, the founder of Curious Model Management, and his business partner, Paledi Sekgabo, during SA Fashion Week 2012 (spring and summer). They offered me the opportunity to walk at the event, which marked the beginning of our collaboration. This chance to walk was the catalyst for my journey in the modeling industry.
My big break was the following year around May or June I shot for a well-known retail brand here and this was just a small one-page advert on the other side of a weekly magazine…but a very popular weekly magazine. I felt like after that ad the ball started to roll.
Muzi: You have worked with some of the most influential photographers and brands, what do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
David: The most memorable experience for me would have to be shooting Sprite Africa 2018. This project held significance both professionally and personally. As a child, I was fascinated by the Sprite advertisement featuring basketball players colliding and transforming into Sprite, like a refreshing splash. I was enthralled by the technical aspects of production that made this possible. Additionally, I admired the players on the court and desired to be part of that same experience. Thus, being able to participate in the Sprite Africa 2018 shoot was truly a double blessing.
Muzi: As an established fashion model, what do you think makes a great model, and what is the secret to longevity in the industry?
David: To be completely transparent, I am still in the process of understanding greatness myself. I don’t want my words to be considered absolute, but I believe you can grasp the essence of what I mean. In my view, greatness is the result of consistently practicing certain habits over an extended period. Consistency, encompassing professionalism, ethics, and skill, is the cornerstone of greatness. It is the key to longevity and serves as the foundation for all other positive outcomes. Ultimately, persistence in various aspects of your work and how you approach it is crucial. Therefore, consistency is both the catalyst for greatness and the secret behind it.
Muzi: Sometimes the modeling industry gets a bad reputation with the jealousy and egos encountered between other models and Agencies. Was this true for you? Have you managed to tough it out and make good friends?
David: Absolutely. Was it tough? Yes, it was and is tough but I strongly believe that one should never slander and would impress upon anyone reading this not to do so either. Even if you had a bad break up or any sort of conflict with a workplace colleague, you should resolve and keep the matter between the parties concerned, you know? So, if anything has gone down with me, I’ve kept it to myself.
Have I made good friends? Well, yeah. So basically, don’t speak ill of former workmates because making enemies is not necessary. There’s nothing wrong and in fact, it’s probably in your best interest to walk away during disagreements. If you put it out there, you basically show your own weaknesses and that you cannot be trusted but keeping it between the concerned parties shows maturity instead of a whining baby, you know? You can’t build trust amongst people. It’s okay for people to assume that you would do the same with them based on how you handle situations if you walk away. So yes, don’t badmouth. It makes it easier to build and maintain professional relationships.
Muzi: Is there anything you would like to change about the modeling industry?
David: Yes, I think I would like to change the stereotypes that exist around modeling and also bring about a new image of what the profession or craft means and can or should represent in comparison to the many other things that it does not represent. I think that it should represent the thoughts, ideas, ways of being, and lifestyle of the people who inhabit the space that whatever product is being sold to.
Modeling can help bring about the true reflection of the time we should exist in and that the models that are modeling should themselves be more cautious of the role that they can play in society, art and in the purpose of art- which is to bring about new ideas, new change, new perspectives, to make us ask questions. That would also be a part of this new image or new meaning of the profession itself for us as an African people.
Muzi: What’s next for you?
David: My thoughts and my words. That is what is next and that is what is future my plans.