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WHAT’S IN YOUR BAG, Papi Mabele?

What’s in Your Bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. To kick things off this week, we’re featuring our editor Papi Mabele. 

There are two things you need to know about my life that explain a lot about my bag. One is that I commute roughly fifteen minutes to and from work every day. The second is that I like to be prepared for things.

What that translates to is a whole bunch of things to prepare me for whatever may come my way, and a whole bunch of emergency chargers, headphones, and cables that I lug around with me everywhere — you know, just in case. Sometimes there’s more stuff if I’m traveling farther or have an event to go to, and sometimes there’s less if I forget something charging on my desk, but this is a rough average of what I usually carry around.

Remy Martin Duffel Bag

I got this duffel bag from my friends at Remy Martin a couple of weeks ago, back when it was in much better condition. It’s big enough to comfortably fit my 15-inch Acer Spire R13.

It doesn’t offer much in the way of internal storage — just two cloth pouches on the front of the laptop pocket — but one of those pouches fits my two battery  packs perfectly and is soft enough that I don’t constantly worry about the screen. The rest of the contents just kind of jumble around in the bottom.

The canvas exterior is pretty good at keeping out most of the rain and crud from the Gautrain and uber floors. 

Objectively speaking, it has probably seen better days.

Acer Aspire R13

This is my work laptop, a 15-inch, 2014 Aspire R13. It has 8GB of RAM, which I still manage to clog up wit dozens of Chrome tabs on a regular basis, but it’s almost impossible for me to imagine working on something less powerful or with a smaller screen at this point.

There are no stickers, because I get terrible sticker anxiety that I’ll waste all my cool ones on a laptop and then break it and lose them all. So mine is just boring charcoal black.

Notebooks and Business Cards

I like to keep a notebook and pen handy for taking notes at meetings or interviews, since it feels a lot more personable than hiding behind a laptop screen. I also keep a stack of business cards in my bag, but somehow I never have any when I actually need them.

Iphone 8 Plus

I recently upgraded to the iPhone 8 as part of my assignment for Premier Magazine. While I’d have liked to consider looking at some of the Android options around, I’m way too locked into iMessage, iTunes, and the iOS App Store ecosystem to turn back now, so iPhone it is. And as someone who likes cool, shiny gadgets (there’s a reason I work for an agency that specialises on consumer tech), the iPhone 8 was probably inevitable for me.

Pioneer Stereo Headphones and Lightning Dongle

These are my favorite headphones, these pack-in headphones actually came as part of a press goodie bag at a Pioneer event. I’ve written about that event here: they cost around R500 and the flat cords never, ever tangle. The pouch holds a second backup pair, for the likely event that the current pair I’m using gets lost or breaks mid-transit. Also stored in the pouch is a bunch of spare tips, for when I lose those. (I lose things a lot.)


I keep a minimum of two battery packs in my bag at all times: a larger 13,000m , and a smaller 3,2000mAh Moshi IonBank 3K. I also keep a Lightning cable, USB-C cable, and Micro USB cable so I’m ready to top off or sync literally any gadget I come across. And there’s also one of Apple’s 12W USB chargers in the event that I need to charge something directly from a wall (or recharge the battery packs).

Sunglasses and Stuff

Contrary to what that case says, those are limited edition Ray-Bans gifted from the brand themselves late last year.

The SIM ejector tool is useful to keep around in the event I need to swap my SIM out, or poke a hard-to-reach physical reset button. I used to keep this on my keyring, but it kept stabbing through my pants, so it was relegated to the depths of my bag.

I try (to varying degrees of success) to go home before any after-work event, which is why I keep the Clarins for Men line control balm and Azzaro Intense in my bag when all fails. The day we shot this was not an event day, but there’s usually a plastic bag of crisp white T-shirt crammed in here, too.

Nikon D500 and SD Cards

For day-to-day photography, I generally stick to my iPhone, but if I’m trying to take a nicer shot (especially in product briefings), I like to use my Nikon D500I. The microSD card adapter and card double as a backup SD card in a pinch, and I keep it all in a microfiber bag that probably isn’t the safest way to carry it around, but the camera still works.


Papi Mabele
Tech enthusiast at heart. Lover of all things digital. Papi is the founder of SA Vibe and has been sharing his love for gadgetry since 2010. Papi sees no need for wearable tech in his busy schedule and considers the Xbox One as non existant. He may come across as bias at times, and still holds a grudge at BlackBerry for creating the 8520.