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Wild Bean Café Design-A-Cup winner has his future studies secured

The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Countries have had to lock down, economies have been devastated and there have been massive job losses.

There have, however, also been some amazing stories of survival and triumph emerging and those good news stories are driving many conversations around the world. One of these is that of Kabelo Diphoko of Klerksdorp, a 20-year-old North-West University design student.

Diphoko’s university fees were being paid by his uncle. His uncle’s financial situation was affected by the lockdown and he couldn’t carry on supporting him. He was facing the prospect of dropping out without completing his degree when he came across the Wild Bean Café Design-A-Cup competition.

The competition, launched in 2019, was part of a BP campaign aimed at enhancing the coffee drinking experience at their Wild Bean Cafés by having every cup telling a South African story. The first phase was to gather authentic and inspirational South African stories that could be depicted on coffee cups and the second was to call on visual arts students to interpret them in their coffee cup designs.

The competition was themed 'A Story in Every Cup’, and it attracted over 300 entries from 16 tertiary institutions around the country. In its second phase the young artists had the opportunity to draw inspiration from the top five Mzansi stories that were announced earlier in the year. Each of the top five winning storytellers received a Wild Bean Café hamper consisting of a coffee machine, a supply of Wild Bean Café coffee beans and a R2,000 BP shopping voucher.

Diphoko’s design was chosen as the ultimate winner and his prize of R100,000 towards his tuition plus an all-expenses paid coffee experience for two in Tanzania had a great impact on Diphoko's life. “I was worried about how I would pay for my third and final year at university and this has now answered my prayers,” Diphoko said. “It will also help me get jobs and it is such an accolade for me. This is mind blowing and I am so proud, and I cannot thank BP enough. It’s such an honour to be able to have designed the coffee cup that millions of South Africans will drink from at the BP Wild Cafés.”

The remarkable and eye-catching designs will be featured on cups at more than 200 Wild Bean Café stores across the country for the next six months.

Whether one regards the Wild Bean Café Design-A-Cup competition as a brand-building initiative or a corporate social investment opportunity is debatable, it can be either. It has, however, been a case of a ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ as this year's winners creatively brought to life the spirit of Mzansi on a cup, amid the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Danielle Croza, head of Wild Bean Café South Africa, the competition gave South Africans a platform to express their love and passion for Mzansi in their own unique way through telling a story in every cup. "A huge thank you to all our storytellers and designers who entered the competition. We'll see you next year with yet another exciting edition of Design-A-Cup competition as Wild Bean Café celebrates 20 years of serving delicious coffee to Mzansi," she said.

Diphoko's took inspiration from the story submitted by Nicolle Rams, which highlighted the different South African languages and the crossing of cultural boundaries through language. His design was bold and colourful.

“We have 11 official languages in our country, and I included them all in the design so whoever has a cup of coffee can identify their culture in the drawing. I have also brought in the diversity in the country. So, there is a shack, as well as a graduate, depicting that no matter where one comes from, we can all make it,” he said.

Second-placed Gayla Raff, a 20-year-old graphic design student at the University of Johannesburg, depicted Hope Moteane's story, which highlights South Africa's cultural diversity, through language and ethnicity. She won a 13-inch MacBook Pro computer, along with a one-year Adobe CC licence. Her design showcases vibrant colours, with a multitude of textures that illustrate Mzansi's cultural diversity.

In third place was Ashton Heldsinger, a final-year student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. For her design, she chose Chantel August's Mzansi story with the theme of evolution in music, from traditional African beats to modern sounds. Her design included South African musical instruments and dance, from the traditional dances to pantsula and the newest qgom dancing.

You can view the winner announcement video here:

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