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2021 class of Design Indaba Emerging Creatives announced

South Africa's longest running platform for supporting rising young talent is the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives programme. Now, in its 16th year, the programme continues unbroken after completing its previous cycle in March 2020.
2021 class of Design Indaba Emerging Creatives announced

The approach to the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives for 2021 has been reformatted in response to the times. The new programme takes the form of an extended virtual exhibition and individual online profiles on the Design Indaba website.

In celebration of the new crop of creatives who have emerged through the submissions and curatorial selection process, Emerging Creatives will include: documentary videography, ongoing social media content on Design Indaba’s thriving channels, masterclass sessions with international and local experts that include UK-based Artsthread, and inclusion on Design Indaba’s soon-to-be-launched Google Arts and Culture presence.

Celebrating emerging talent

Design Indaba Emerging Creatives is supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture with the aim of nurturing new talent. The programme successfully functions as a launching pad for careers. Over the years, it has provided a much-needed break for scores of young designers.

Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo said, “We are extremely committed to this programme. Especially now, with the economic impact of Covid-19, it is vital that we continue to support our youth and aid their entry into the local and global marketplace so that their stars can truly shine. Young talent, with so much potential, needs all the help it can get – and so we are thankful to the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for providing support for this programme.”

Many Design Indaba Emerging Creatives have gone on to achieve global recognition for their projects and brands. Famous names include fashion and homeware label MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo, Kristin-lee Moolman, Thebe Magugu, Rich Mnisi, Katherine-Mary Pichulik of Pichulik, Neo Mahlangu, Andile Dyalvane, Cole Ndelu and a host of others.

In fact, Ndelu is one of this year’s curators, who, alongside fellow curator Thabisa Mjo of Mash T. Design, was invited by Design Indaba to select this year's final cut. Annually, 40 creatives are chosen from the slew of submissions received after Design Indaba puts out its nationwide call for proposals. The programme receives in excess of 200 submissions every year.

The final 40 creatives are chosen from across a wide range of design disciplines; ranging from architecture and spatial design to product design, industrial design, photography, film, graphic design, illustration, ceramics, design for social impact, interior design, jewellery, fashion and the visual arts.

The Design Indaba announces its 2021 inductees, listed according to their respective disciplines:


Azola Tanzi
Mashoto Tshoga
Nikiwe Dlova
Aria van Rooyen
Tristan Shaun Henry
Lunga Mzimba

Visual Art

Lerato Lodi
Akhona Mbange
Boikanyo Mashigo
Brad Jackson
Chelsea Robin
Danielle Jordaan
Gerald Genie
Pule Magopa

Graphic Design 

Caleb Pillay
Clinton Myeni
Ntobeko Nxumalo
Tebogo Mapomane
Mncedisi Faltein


Babalo Rozani
Zulu Mien – Nicola Robertson

Film and Photography

Boitumelo Thindiza
Fiona Davhana
Lithemba Nziweni
Zenhlanhla Myeni Lovarism
Kgothatso Malatjie
Nhlakanipho Mashinini


Hilde Franzsen
Tebogo Lethuba
Lethabo Mmalerato Huma
Buhle Qabaka


Kaya Design Hub
Ontlametse Molefe


Deft – Zani Alberts and Martin Tallie
Magrietha Labuschagne
Elizabeth Louisa van der Merwe


Clement Maenetja

Naidoo said, “We congratulate all those selected! We look forward to seeing how the new Class of 2021 fares as they make their way into the world. We are extremely encouraged by the quality and caliber of the submissions that we received, and we know that the South African creative community will be positively uplifted by the addition of these bright young minds.”

For more information on the Emerging Creatives programme, click here.

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