The Chivas Venture returns to champion grassroots community initiatives

The Chivas Venture – the platform from leading blended Scotch whisky, Chivas, that supports the world’s hottest social entrepreneurs – is returning to South Africa with a dynamic new format that will launch with a collaboration with streetwear legend and Grade Africa founder, Zaid Osman. The new platform will see Zaid and Chivas provide up-and-coming fashion designers with the tools and support needed to produce a nine-piece capsule collection that will be sold via ‘Drops’ with exclusive retail partners.

The production of the collection will provide local African communities with employment opportunities, empowering newly appointed apprentices to join forces with Chivas and Grade Africa. Collectively they will blend their skills and talents, enabling them to source and manufacture the collection sustainably. Proceeds from the sales of the collection will be given to the apprentices and donated to the Grade Africa Foundation, whose mission is to eliminate extreme poverty and bring unique opportunities back home to Africa.

Zaid founded Grade Africa in 2018 with the hope of bringing African talent to the table and showcasing African pride in the fashion industry. “I only want to be a part of meaningful things and when the Chivas Venture team reached out to me, it was a no brainer as this is exactly what we as Grade Africa stand for – to empower and upskill local creatives”

To date, the Chivas Venture has given away $6 million in no-strings funding to 142 social entrepreneurs, who have positively impacted over 3.3 million lives, in more than 65 countries. This includes providing 34 million litres of safe drinking water to communities, recycling 1,300 tonnes of waste, helping over 2,500 farmers’ families out of poverty and funding over 75,000 days of education for women and girls.

Meet the people behind the Chivas Venture 2021 in South Africa. Fronted by local cultural leader Zaid Osman, the programme will mentor four hardworking budding designers, who will work together to create the A Grade capsule collection.


Heading up the Chivas Venture in South Africa this year is Zaid Osman. Founder of Sneaker Exchange – South Africa’s largest sneaker expo – and streetwear brand and movement Grade Africa, Zaid is the perfect fit to lead our apprentices to success.

Zaid and his family moved to the US when he was six years old. Over the next 10 years, Zaid discovered a passion for sneakers and began hustling hard to finance his passion, mostly by ploughing snow and mowing lawns. Aged just 16, Zaid returned to Cape Town to bring the interest over to South Africa after spotting a gap in the market, importing sneakers that no one could find in the country.

Since his first Sneaker Exchange event in 2013 where people could buy, sell or trade sneakers, his success has boomed. The hugely popular events now regularly see 4,000 attendees flock to cities for it, including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.Heading up the Chivas Venture in South Africa this year is Zaid Osman. Founder of Sneaker Exchange – South Africa’s largest sneaker expo – and streetwear brand and movement Grade Africa, Zaid is the perfect fit to lead our apprentices to success.

Following the success of Sneaker Exchange, Zaid then set up Grade Africa in 2018. As a streetwear brand and movement with African pride at its core, Zaid hopes to showcase African talent to the world and cement his position in the sustainable fashion industry.


Sabelo Shabalala is a designer from Durban. Growing up, his passion for streetwear was fuelled by global icons like Virgil Abloh, Jerry Lorenzo and Pharrell Williams, alongside local brands.

For Sabelo, streetwear isn’t just about the outfits; it’s about the culture and movement behind it. His passion led to the creation of RICHMANSKYF, luxury streetwear that’s entirely gender neutral. All materials and fabrics used are sourced locally, with Sabelo hoping to have a big impact on South Africa.


Very $orry was born in just August 2020, created by Johannesburg-based designer Josh Badenhorst. Josh created the brand with a huge focus on culture, specifically around fashion, music and cars after being influenced by figures and brands like Supreme, Kanye West and Vivienne Westwood.

Each piece is hand created from the highest quality vinyl, using a DTG printing method alongside unique tying and dying techniques. Alongside clothing, Josh eventually aims to create toys, accessories, furniture and visual art.


A love for fashion was ignited at a young age for Robyn Agulhas, who grew up watching her grandmother behind a sewing machine. The story behind clothes is hugely important to Robyn, who brings this into her brand SinChui.

The greatest inspiration for Robyn has been Harajuku; a style of fashion that’s bright, quirky and often linked to anime. Also looking to icons like Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams, Robyn is inspired to live by her own truth and conveys this in her designs.


Independent women have long inspired Lindiwe Modiselle, who was mostly raised by her mother in Soweto. Inheriting her mother’s drive to constantly do better led her to pursue her passion.

Exploring second-hand clothing from the 80s and 90s inspired Lindewe to make strselle a brand that creates classics, not fashion fads. Inspired by icon Rich Mnisi and brand Aimee Leon Dore, Lindiwe is set on creating not just garments, but a collection rooted in culture that – most importantly – tells a story.

Together, Zaid and the budding designers will create the A Grade capsule collection, launching in Autumn 2021 with proceeds donated towards the Grade Africa Foundation .

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