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Youth Month Content Feature

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#YouthMonth: Use your time effectively and challenge the norms

Now in its 15th year, Design Indaba Emerging Creatives is a developmental support programme that invites submissions from across South Africa with the aim of unearthing rising design talent. Held annually and supported by the Department of Arts and Culture, the programme has helped launch the careers of many now-celebrated designers.

The exhibition of work by up-and-coming creatives is always a must-see feature of the Festival. If you missed this showcase at the Artscape Theatre Centre in February, you can 'meet' the entire class of 2020 via the Design Indaba website. One of this year's talents is Morena Moletsane, a Gauteng-based illustrator who pairs technical prowess with a passion for African short stories.

Morena Moletsane, a Gauteng-based illustrator.
Morena Moletsane, a Gauteng-based illustrator.

Moletsane talks to us about the significance of youth month and why he believes the pandemic has levelled the playing field for all industries.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

My grandfather was the art initiator in the family and most of our family art interests started from there. My siblings are gifted in communications, TV presenting, radio and writing respectively. I had grappled with finding the fitting career path as I was a lot more visual. Spending time with my late grandfather as a child and being part of a family of communicators made it fitting for me to pursue an education in graphic design majoring in multimedia design.

With my design background, I'm diving deeper into finding ways of communicating visuals, through illustration and animation, trying to communicate African concepts with a more digital medium. My current work sees me being part of a digital marketing agency where I work on and maintain brand identity and come up with innovative visuals. My passion is also in apparel and street culture, that inspired me to initiate an upcoming brand @borotho_za to better explore African concepts and ideas.

BizcommunityWhat are some of the highlights in your career so far?
  • Working on the South African movie, Catching Feelings, which premiered at the LA Film Festival in 2018 and is a Netflix original movie (I was part of creating the intro sequence that was a narration by the lead character).
  • Having worked on an show called Next of Next Week Season 3. This 6 episode show aired on in 2018. I established the show's intro and creative. (Season 5 is in post-production and I have been involved once again with the creative to establish an intro that displays the backdrop of Soweto, as that is where the plot of the show is.
  • Exhibiting and being considered as a Design Indaba Emerging Creative for 2020.
  • Having the opportunity to create an illustrative packaging for Nestle Ricoffy. The design has been considered as Top 3 out of many entries and is pending approval as final design for the limited edition illustrative packaging in August 2020.

  • Handling social media creative for brands such as the SAMA's, DStv and ZamBuck.

What aspects of your field are you most passionate about?

I am currently really invested in Borotho, which is my personal brand. The street apparel is what I am dreaming about at the moment. I see great possibility for this brand to find its roots in South African fashion and street culture. Working in film is also a great passion as I am a film enthusiast.

What do you think the industry can improve on and how can young creatives help bring this change about?

The industry can improve by allowing for more upcoming creatives and artists to get involved with these bigger brands. Nowadays to get a commission with a big organisation requires one to have great PR or relationship. A great example would be Karabo Poppy. Her work has been outstanding. She has led the industry from an illustrative and design point of view. However, it would be great for the market to open up a bit more. My call is for brands to be less conservative. It would be great to see an array of talents popping up throughout the course of a year. It has been happening but I believe there's an untapped skill in South Africa.

The Covid-19 crisis is likely to have a significant impact on the opportunities available for professional development for young South Africans. Do you have any words of encouragement?

More than anything I believe the pandemic has levelled the playing field for industries. Going into lockdown created a time for people to be innovative. I believe the key to conquering is in being able to master yourself. That's what lockdown has taught me – to be disciplined in the comfort of my home. Many times we think the only way to being productive people or being successful in making an income is by working at an office and being monitored.

The lockdown and Covid-19 made me realise that it is possible to craft your own brand at your personal desk. Investing in the internet can be a launchpad to where you want to go. Just get with the times, especially with all things concerning digital. I also believe that with the internet, South Africa isn't our only market. I realised this working with a couple of concept artists at Diprente Films. One of them being @tako_universe. He established some clients from America and had several requests from people who sought some of his skills.

BizcommunityWhat to you is the significance of Youth Month in 2020?

This serves as a reminder to the privileges we have today as young South Africans. It's a reminder that my time should be used effectively as a youth. That I'm living with certain privileges that my parents didn't experience because I need to serve a greater purpose with my skills and efforts. Other than that, youth month is also a reminder that I need to challenge the norms in South Africa and cherish the fact that I don't have any wrinkles on my face at the moment.

Words you live by?

Everything is God-given. I'm breathing for a reason...

Follow Moletsane on Twitter and Instagram as well as his brand, Borotho on Instagram.

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About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita is the former editor of the marketing & media portal on the Bizcommunity website. She was also a contributing writer.
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