Design Indaba 2016: Meet all 40 of this year’s Emerging Creatives

With over 400 applications from young designers across the country, this year’s Emerging Creatives lineup looks set to impress. The Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme provides a year-long programme of support, mentorship and guidance to young designers who have all the talent but as yet little industry exposure. The programme will help them learn how to manage and grow small businesses as well as provide opportunities for them to show their creative work to further propel their creative careers. 

In whittling down the vast number of entries to a class of just 40, the organisers were on the lookout for emerging designers who impressed with beautiful hybridity and flexibility in their work. 

The Emerging Creatives Class of 2016 will have their work showcased in a high profile exhibition from 16-21 February 2016 as part of Design Indaba Festival at the Watershed in the V&A Waterfront.

In no particular order, here are the designers to look out for this year:

 Abongile Gwele | Apples and Oranges

Apples and Oranges is a clothing and accessories brand aimed at styling young vibrant individuals who are not afraid of sticking out in a crowd, and those who relish in the spotlight of course. Each piece is handmade from a combination of African wax cloth and copper wire, and despite the broad variety of accessories available, each handmade item is truly one-of-a-kind.


Alexia Hechter | WOL Ontwerp

Alexia Hechter is a fashion designer specialising in wool-based creations under the name of WOL Ontwerp (Afrikaans for “WOOL Design”). She aims to create a range of humble, relaxed sleepwear by utilising the comfortable and natural properties of organic wool. The selection of garments are meant to be loose-fitting, with multiple unstructured shapes incorporated into each design. Gentle outlines and stretchy materials allow for maximum movement and a sense of relaxation and luxury. 


Amy Slatem 

Amy’s work is primarily hand-drawn with ink and features fine details and outspoken line work. These illustration-based products are also meant to allow the buyer the opportunity for their own creativity, and part of Amy’s development of her range will include products that can be coloured in or developed upon by the user.

2-Doodle-Book (1)

Beryl Dingemans

Beryl Dingemans takes her inspiration from Africa in the 1970’s – eclectic, vibrant and luxurious in a uniquely Afrocentric way. 


Bokang Lehabe | Bookha Creations

Bokang’s work, besides pushing the boundaries of fashion and being beautiful to look at and wear, is also influenced by art, social issues and the general boldness of South African living.


Carla Latsky

Carla’s work is aimed at inspiring nostalgia, but also at initiating conversation through her eclectic body of work. With creative pieces spanning the boundaries of watercolour paints, fineliners, embroidery, printing and typography, Carla returns to “old school” methods of creativity.


Cebisa Mafukuzela & Georgina Campbell | CROSS.CULTURE

The result of this relationship is a unique design collaboration that not only engages with the similarities between various global cultures and traditions, but also celebrates it through the medium of fashion. Celtic patterns and traditional methods of textile creation are fused with Masai and Herero fabrics to create Afro-Euro designs in a refreshing way.


Danielle Clough

Using vintage tennis rackets, old coffee bags and other second-hand waste, Danielle is breaking the mould of contemporary art with her embroidery. 


Siyanda Mazibuko | PATE

A seasoned furniture designer, Siyanda decided to branch out into wooded furniture and started the company PATE. This line is a homeware and furniture range specifically created for design-minded and socially-conscious citizens. Up-cycling and second-hand materials are favoured and all the pieces are made from wood purchased from local suppliers. 

4 (1)

Dhiantha Achary | Laced

A trained architect, Dhiantha uses shoe designs as a creative outlet. Each pair of takkies is completely handmade and carefully designed to fit the personality of the buyer and takes about 4-6 hours to customise each shoe. 


Phendu Kuta | Unlabelled Mag

Phendu is a multiple-time entrepreneur who has made her name in style reporting. Unlabelled Mag strives to showcase authentic South African street fashion and style in a hip and edgy way by drawing inspiration from Joburg street culture.


Fiona Mpungu | Sankofa Creations 

Sankofa Creations include mainly interior design products and fashion items created from carefully sourced African fabrics. The line includes cushions, kaftans, kimono-styled bathrobes and shawls, and more. Each product is designed by Fiona and then outsourced to local tailors for production.


Galarekwe Maimane 

Galarekwe Maimane is a young creative and aspiring film director, whose work is inspired by irrational fears and insecurities. “totamma”, her latest project, attempts to address how black South Africans see themselves, their practices and how they allow themselves to learn and still critically observe their narratives and identities in contemporary South African society. 

Gisele Human | WAIF

An ad-industry copywriter turned jewellery designer, Gisele Human is the set of hands behind the WAIF line. Her pieces are made from hand-cut, recycled brass and take inspiration from the asymmetrical laws of nature. 


Helé de Beer 

Helé is an emerging visual arts practitioner who aims to “embrace the messiness of the design process” through the creation of interesting textiles. Her work speaks to her cultural contemporaries and explores the archetypes of her past. 


Helen Borg

Helen is a visual communications graduate with a penchant for the quirky, and a knack for fun conceptual design. Her illustrative design work questions and mocks the pleasures, emotions, and perceptions of people within today’s society.


Ishaarah Arnold 

Ishaarah Arnold’s path to becoming a designer/illustrator wasn’t simple, and losing her creatively-minded sister was one step on the path that led her to become an artist. Art united the two siblings, much as Arnold now unites digital and traditional media to create her refreshing work.


Jamie-Lee Matthews | Project Life Lines

Project Life Lines is a series of portrait photographs, enhanced with lines and organic shapes, which portrays the marks left on a person’s face by their life experiences. Each photograph is accompanied by a story or quote from the subject about their personal experiences.

Philisa Zibi | MA ART

Philisa’s geometric jewellery brand from Sophiatown features handmade pieces composed of silver, wood or copper wire, covered with colourful plastic, as well as other interesting materials. 


Jamil Randera & Max Melville | + NESS

The +NESS project came about as a means of shedding new light on the buildings of cities, with the hope of helping the average Joe better appreciate architecture and the complexity and beauty of the cityscape.The project and its artworks present an array of architectural projects that help define the skylines, culture, and history of South African cities. Accurately-drawn facades of different buildings are paired with unique colour schemes to express their particular character and context and ultimately uncover each building’s essence, charm, and “+NESS”. Displayed together, the collective body of work reveals the “ness” of our cities.

Jen McKenzie | Abide Creative 

Jen McKenzie is the creator and illustrator behind the homeware and artwork company Abide Creative. Her aim is to make and sell affordable artwork, bold accessories and feature pieces that can be displayed in a multitude of settings.


Josie Hardy | Banc 

“The mantra of slow design and craftsmanship with intentionality” is how Josie describes her work process. BANC is Josie’s furniture and homeware range that is characterised by the use of slim, household copper pipes and French oak wood.



Jaun van Wyk

Jaun is an architect with a passion for the confluence of architecture, art and fashion. His work considers architecture as a provisional gathering of components that come together to mean more than the sum of the individual parts.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.07.42 PM

Seugnet Herbst 

Seugnet draws her inspiration from the natural beauty of South Africa, with specific reference to shapes, curves and colours. As her major project she creates fabric beanbags that are sewn in such a way that they can be turned inside out to show off another, previously invisible fabric cover. She is currently collaborating with Marguerite Oelofse, a local photographer who specialises in capturing local flora. 

Nkateko Odysseus Shirindza | Arnreuby

Odysseus dream has always been to “promote the local industry at an international level, creating products that are fashionable, relevant and well made while reflecting an African sense of pride”. His new label draws inspiration from multifaceted African history and certain significant periods such as the 70s, 80s and 90s. 

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.36.35 PM


Kobie Koba Nieuwoudt  

Kobie Nieuwoudt is a graphic designer by trade, but an experimenter by nature. Her vision is to constantly adapt and be able to reinvent herself and her work. She has always been interested in human nature; how people communicate, whether it is through eye contact, gesture, body language or speech. The latter has a profound influence on the subject matter of her work, and she says she is always on the lookout for ways in which she can apply his illustrations to add a functional quality.


Luhandra Vorstman | Elle Kay Fabrics  

Elle Kay Fabrics is based on the principle that beautiful, modern prints should not be exclusively for designers, decorators or the very wealthy, but should instead be accessible to all. The company’s founder, Luhandra has a background in textile and digital design and works with an ethically-run mill in her hometown of Durban to produced fabric that she screenprints and finishes. 


Lynne Avis | Obtuse

Using brass, silver and African Blackwood, Lynne specialises in creating jewellery that strays from the typical shape and purpose. Her latest Kinetic Collection is a range specifically made to move, twist, shake and spin. 


Moeketsi “Mokay” Lebakeng 

Mokay’s illustration style pays homage to Africa and women and their heroic tales. 


Madri van Zyl | Iloni  

Madri’s recently started Iloni Jewellery label is characterised by classic simplicity, understated detail, precise finishes and minimalist lines, shapes and materials.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.36.13 PM

Mbali Memela | Black Magic

Mbali Memela is a ladies-wear designer from Durban. Her label Black Magic is specifically designed for powerful, emotive women. She creates her own textiles by layering colours and prints, applied through screenprinting. Memela uses a wide selection of fabrics and patterns, including scraps that were originally used to clean the printing screens, and other recycled or unusual pieces. 


Mieke Vermeulen | Bucolica

After two years of planning and market research, Mieke has finally launch her business, Bucolica. She has created a line of handcrafted, minimalistic products spanning ready-to-wear garments and accessories as well as home and body products. She favours clay and leather as mediums and has experimented with embroidery, traditional West African “batik” dyeing, weaving and “tolletjie brei”, a form of spool knitting.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.22.27 PM

Monde Mabaso 

Monde is a Johannesburg-based illustrator who draws his inspiration from the eclectic and colourful international city. His designs are printed on various items, including cotton shirts, mugs, five-panel caps and much more. A number of his prints are also encased in art frames.


Maeve Roseveare | Maev Rose 

Maeve takes her aesthetic reference from Asia and crafts her jewellery by hand using sterling silver, brass, semi-precious beads and silk ribbon to create delicate pieces. 


Megan Smith | Cloth and Print

A qualified textile designer, Megan Smith is no novice to the creative world. Megan screenprints textiles that are designed and printed by hand in her Cape Town studio, using 100% locally sourced natural cotton and linen cloth.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.45.55 PM

Michael Rowlinson | UMBALA

Following along a similar social-entrepreneurial route as his first company WeWOOD Wooden Watches, Michael has founding the UMBALA baby blanket range. Each blanket is made up of locally weaved cotton and acrylic, and features a bright, African pattern designed by Rowlinson. For each blanket sold, a blanket will be donated to an orphaned child. Rowlinson strives to create an ethical brand that empowers local artisans.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.05.13 PM

Tshepo Duncan Mokholo

Unlike most architects, Tshepo looks further than the present day before picking up his design tools – he designs for the future. One of the projects close to his heart is the fossil-fuel-free houseboat. Technically designed for a dystopian future, the concept is relevant even today. His work is characterised by social upliftment, and Tshepo aims to expand his venture into a broad-based design company with a command of multiple areas of design.

Sikho Mququ | Ckho Ceramics

Sikho’s ceramic wheel-thrown and sculptured items are simple yet delicate, with most of the designs binge based on the patterns of traditional blankets worn by Xhosa women, known as Ityali. 


Brian Sbusiso Mokhachane | Unlearn Afrika

Brian is a social entrepreneur from Soweto and has been part of numerous community development projects, including the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy 2015. He is also part of a pro-recycling and social awareness project, which is creating an open art studio using recycled materials in the middle of a dump site. Unlearn Afrika is his brand of backpacks, which are also made from recycled material. Cotton dust is mashed with a mix of fabric cutoffs for the more intricate pieces of the backpack, and the larger areas are made from sections of traditional Sotho blanket.



Zinhle Nzumalo | Afozee

Zinhle specialises in a completely different idea of fashion. Each piece is made up of hundreds of intricately woven and braided lengths of fabric, rather than just a simple, flat textile. Each garment is made from a stretch textile, and woven by hand into the complex forms that characterise the Afozee label. No fasteners or clasps are used, but are rather braided to be able to open and shut.



For more info at

Between 10 and 5