How did your graphic design journey begin?
I grew up in Alexandra and when you grow up in the hood, you’re not exposed to industries such as the creative field, however I was lucky enough to meet a couple of guys who were enrolled to Vega’s Imagination Lab while I was in matric. After speaking to them, on several occasions, I decided to follow suite and join the learnership program which I managed to not only enjoy, but graduate at the top of the class as well.
How do you differentiate your craft from the clutter that is out there?
It took me a while to position myself as a graphic designer, but I allowed my upbringing to not only define me, but inspire me as well. What differentiates me is the fact that I have allowed Alexandra’s vibe and multiculturalism, from Zulu, Swati, Xhosa and Sotho to add value to the way I think as well as my approach towards a westernized industry. Therefore I’ve gradually learned to juxtapose the two, in order to reflect on the world’s cultural events.
What has been your biggest hurdle?
My biggest hurdle has to be understanding that I can’t solely depend on my opinion and intuition when delivering a body of work, simply because I am not the only recipient of my work. I have to consider and appreciate people’s opinion because they are potentially the voice of my target audience. Same approach applies to client work, as much as I am the designer, and I may know what’s best, the client’s reasoning is equally important because my body of work has to coincide with their vision.
Going forward, where do you see your path leading to?
I’ll still be a graphic designer of course, however I want to grow Negritude Republic into a lifestyle brand, from design to collaborative work with photographers, filmmakers, poets and interior designers. My main objective however is to travel, explore Southern African countries. Furthermore not only send my work to exhibitions across the globe, but physically be present to speak about my work. Finally, I would love to mentor young people, in order to give them the advice I never received.
Having exhibited in several countries, what would you say makes South Africa?
I have been fortunate enough to exhibit in the United States, Scotland, Germany, Egypt and Botswana, I’d say we as young South Africans are grasping the possibilities within South Africa’s post apartheid era, but at the same time we are learning to become an integrated nation by living alongside our brothers and sister from across the world. What’s beautiful about South Africa, is that our country is becoming a hybrid of cross-cultural references, breaking new grounds and breaking the leash that was cast upon us during apartheid, an attitude which sees everyone doing everything and anything simultaneously yet complimenting each other. When you step back, you see unparalleled beauty, which every brand wants to be a part of.