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Young South Africans: Arts & Lifestyle

Staff Reporter

Tumi Morake, John van der Ruit, Nkensani Nkosi, Craig Native, Kim Engelbrecht, David Tlale, Tutu Puoane, Abigail Betz, Tidal Waves and more ...

A chapter of the Mail & Guardian‘s 200 Young South Africans You Must Take to Lunch

Tumi Morake
Tumi’s passion for acting started at the age of five when she was inspired by the musical Mmabana Mmabatho. She has since graduated with a degree in drama from Wits University and has extended her talents across many genres in the entertainment industry. She started out with Arepp theatre, a touring educational group working in the Free State, North West and Gauteng. After the two-year stint she decided it was time to sharpen her skills and put all her energies into attending writing workshops and working on her stand-up routine.

To date she has performed in a dance piece in France and does stand-up at numerous local comedy spots. Her ability as a writer has been recognised through her debut writing work for Kenny Makenzo and Nomzamo. Tumi is currently working on For Sale, a drama series for SABC 3.

Lunch spot: Any place with good food

John van der Ruit
John’s best-selling novel Spud broke records when it was published in 2005. His irreverent look at the horrors of boarding school (followed by Spud: The Madness Continues in 2007) has been praised with satire for stage for its popularity with both highbrow and lowbrow audiences.

With comedy partner Ben Voss, John has produced the award-winning biting satires Green Mamba and Black Mamba. His plays include War Cry, Noupoort and Crooked, and he appeared in writer/director Greig Coetzee’s production of Athol Fugard’s People Are Living There. Spud, which was almost certainly inspired by his schooling at the prestigious Michaelhouse, is in its 16th printing and has been published in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The book has been translated into Italian and into Portuguese for the Brazilian market. It will soon be made into a feature film.

Lunch spot: Palki’s Indian cuisine on Musgrave Road, Durban

Nkensani Nkosi
Nkensani’s Stoned Cherrie line of clothing, music, eyewear and a lot else besides has captured the zeitgeist of South Africa in the 21st century. Her Drum T-shirts are an iconic symbol of a country looking backwards to look forward to its own style. It’s fair to say that this trailblazer, along with fellow designers, has helped wean South Africa of its look-north dress sense.

She continues to produce season after season of beautiful home-grown designs. In addition, she is a popular speaker and owns Vicious Punk productions, which provides several popular television programmes to the public broadcaster. She was inaugural host of M-Net’s Face of Africa competition and judged Coca-Cola Popstars. Nkensani loves painting, reading, dancing and travelling.

Source: Who’s Who of Southern Africa

Craig Native
Known for his edgy street wear and paying unfailing homage to his South African heritage, this Cape Flats-born designer is one of local fashion’s most beloved individuals. The Native brand is packed solid with attitude but without being pretentious or overwrought. Growing up on the flats in Mitchells Plain, itself a melting pot of ghetto living and political culture, has meant Craig’s clothes always comment on local society and politics. He believes in “making people think”.

While coming from iKaapa, Craig studied fashion design in Durban at Natal Technikon. He is a former sprinter and participated in the South African Championships in 2000. His love of sport is reflected in his designs. During Sanlam SA Fashion Week Spring Summer collections in August 2007, Craig commemorated iconic South African sprinter Zola Budd in his collection.

His clothes are sold around the world, he is stocked in Woolworths and Big Blue, and celebrities such as Lenny Kravitz and Erykah Badu have worn his clothes.

Lunch spot: Depasco, Kloof Street, Cape Town

Kim Engelbrecht
If she wanted, Kim could do a Charlize Theron. This accomplished actress stars in Isidingo, is a noted stand-up comic and a television anchor, and has tried her talents on the indie circuit in the acclaimed production of Bunny Chow.

She played Sara in the Italian production Sarahsara at 12, when her career was launched. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and has written empowering guides for young people. She is an ambassador of Nelson Mandela’s Aids campaign called 46664. She was raised in Cape Town and is now resident of Jozi.

Source: Who’s Who of Southern Africa

Lunch spot: Soi, Melville

David Tlale
The David Tlale fashion brand was officially launched in 2002. Since then it has become a brand that local and international celebrities and high rollers alike aspire to wear. In 2003 he was nominated Best Designer by the Sunday Times and won the 2003 SA Fashion Week Elle New Talent Competition. Two years later he was approached by Fashion House Carducci to design a women’s range for the label. In 2006 he was nominated for the Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence De La Mode. 2008 seems to be another milestone year—David was selected along with three other designers to showcase his work at the Paris Couture Fashion Week exhibition. He was also awarded designer of the Year at SABC’s Mzansi Awards, acknowledging excellence in the creative industries. David is known for his ingenuity and says there’s still plenty more to come.

Lunch spot: Orient, Melrose Arch

Tutu Puoane
Vocalist Tutu started playing music professionally in 1997 in downtown Johannesburg. In 2007 she released her debut song with Dutch label Saphrane and launched it at the 2008 Cape Town International Jazz Festival to critical acclaim. Tutu studied jazz vocals with Jelena Reveshin, Natasha Roth-Scholfield and Rachel Gould and performed in South Africa, Europe and the United States. She has also led the Afro-Latino band Tucan Tucan.

In 2000 she was awarded the Old Mutual Jazz Encounters Award and in 2001 received a merit award for young promising talent at the Daimler Chrysler South African Jazz Competition. In 2004 she was the recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Music. She has shared the stage with the likes of Jack van Poll, Stacy Rowles, Mark Murphy and Roy Hargrove. Tutu is currently the vocalist for the Frits Bayens Big Band of Breda.

Lunch spot: Café Manhattan, Green Point

Abigail Betz
Abigail heads up the Abigail Betz House of Couture and has been making waves in the fashion industry for more than a decade. Her earlier label, Juniper, is hosted at the Young Designer’s Emporium and her solo range can be found at Rosebank Mall’s The Space. In her hometown Parys, Abigail has launched a spa, Salon de Beauté La Femme and Yole, her showroom. Not only has she graced the covers of magazines such as Elle and Sarie but has also been featured in international design magazine Wallpaper.

In 2007 Abigail started a cosmetic couture line The Sweet Range, a wedding card couture line and an interior design department. This year she was nominated for the Marie Claire Prix d’ Excellence de la Mode Award and says that her secret to success is “being the best at whatever you do and make sure that each client feels cherished”. 

Lunch spot: Gramadoelas, Market Theatre, Johannesburg

Tidal Waves
The dreadlocked maestro with the guitar stops blowing his harmonica, leans into the microphone and shouts: “Original music, for original people!” Tidal Waves are widely regarded as one of the most committed reggae bands in South Africa, made up of four gifted musicians: Jacob “Zakes” Wulana on guitar, harmonica and vocals; Sam “Drumbo” Shoai on drums and vocals; “Lucky” Nhlanhla Mthalane on the bass; and Ruben “Toply” Faku plays the keys. Their sound is original roots reggae with strong rock, ska and blues strands.

They play gigs from Oppikoppi to Potchefstroom, Mozambique and Swaziland and as far abroad as New Zealand and Europe. They have recently returned from a rocking tour of Europe, where they played at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium as well as at packed venues across Belgium and Italy. Their recorded albums include Hard Work, Harmonijah and independent release Muzik an da Method.

Lunch spot: Tings & Times in Hatfield, Pretoria

Righard Kapp
Righard takes on a guitar bringing out sublime mixtures of texture and tone. This guitarist’s most exploratory strategies have ranged from understatement on his collection of abstract guitar pieces on Trace to monumentality on the abrasive foray into feedback noise territory on PUIN with Gareth Dawson.

His improvisatory tactics revolve around extending the textural possibilities of the guitar and its related paraphernalia. Extending his musicianship, Righard finds time to run a CD-R label V#1, which has recently released albums by Ampersand and Ella Joyce Buckely. He also has an online blog and MP3 archive called Intention Deficit and co-curates the On the Edge of Wrong festival for improvised music featuring artists such as Zim Ngqawana, Mark Fransman and the Norwegian Streifenjunko duo. He’s currently recording his first formal studio album, based on acoustic guitar compositions but retaining elements of his more experimental work.

Lunch spot: Kauai in Kloof Street, Cape Town

Stuart Taylor
Stuart is a science graduate with a twist. Hanging up his lab coat he opted for the entertainment circuit instead. Stuart is perhaps most recognisable for his alternative presenting style as the host of the hit travel TV show on SABC3 Going Nowhere Slowly. However, knowing that it takes more than one formula to make it big, this multi-skilled artist has come up with much more to offer. He has earned himself the title of South Africa’s Comedy Magic Champion for three years, and his award-winning combination of magic and stand-up comedy has been applauded by audiences all around the globe. He has performed at major international theatre and comedy festivals and continuously has sold-out performances at South African theatres. With his ability to cast spells and attract infectious laughter, Stuart is going everywhere, fast.

Lunch spot: Café Manhattan, De Waterkant, Cape Town

Palesa Mokubung
Four years ago Palesa started out as an entrepreneur from her mum’s garage and has never looked back. A talented fashion designer, she has marketed her fashion label and company Mantsho to become one of the most sought-after fashion labels. She now has an established design studio and employees. Palesa supplies her trendy designs to stores in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Botswana and 12 Edgars stores nationwide.

Future plans are to open a Mantsho boutique in Johannesburg and to expand her label to include additional fashion merchandising. With a passion for all things artistic, Palesa is also a musician and keeps her music alive by singing with eclectic SeSotho band Ntjapedi. It is the perfect confluence of different musical genres and Sankomota influences and undertones that keeps Palesa going and everyone else dancing to her tune.

Lunch spot: The Craft Café (next to Omumba Gallery), Windhoek, Namibia

Riaad Moosa
Riaad is no ordinary medical doctor. He is also a silver medallion graduate of the College of Magic in Cape Town. He started his career as a comedy magician and then built on his stand-up routine. After only two months of doing stand-up Riaad walked away with the 1999 One City Many Comics Talent Competition award.

In 2002 he was part of the largest stand-up show in the history of South African television, Laugh Out Loud, in which he joined nine of South Africa’s top comics to raise half a million rand for the Reach For a Dream Foundation.

In 2003 Riaad performed at the Edinburgh festival and in 2004 was a writer for SABC’s Pure Monati show. He also featured in the South African film Crazy Monkey and has been touring with his one-man show Strictly Halaal. Yes, after all this he remains a doctor.

Lunch spot: Bibi’s Kitchen, Wynberg, Cape Town

Thula Sindi
A London International School of Fashion Graduate, Thula has made his mark in just four years. He was head designer for textile company Vlisco and took its custom-made fabrics and designs to SA Fashion Week for the first time. In 2006 he designed his first solo range, which earned him a spot as semi-finalist at the Nederburg Rare Fashion Finds. Shortly thereafter, he was a finalist in the Marie Claire Emerging Designer Competition and was nominated as one of the Top Ten emerging Designers at a pan-African fashion contest held in Niger. He has also had a successful collection showing at a Couture Fashion Week in Paris.

After the success of his 2008 Collection at Audi Fashion, the department of arts and culture has invited him to take his showing to Asia. Thula now effortlessly creates ready-to-wear and couture garments for women out of his own studio in Johannesburg.

Lunch spot: Primi Piatti in Rosebank

Jahmil XT Qubeka
A filmmaker with a string of productions under his belt Jahmil’s portfolio includes television programmes, documentaries, music videos and commercials. He has worked with reputable names in the industry such as Ochre Media and Urban Brew. Together with a partner he now runs his own media company ZA Kingmakers, a creative incubator for media-related work.

Jahmil is the winner of the prestigious Peabody Award in the United States for an Aids documentary he directed for Sesame Street. A few years ago he embarked on a mission to create Africa’s first indigenous super hero, Shogun Khumalo, which was revealed at the Cannes Film Festival with much interest for further development. Keep your eye on this filmmaker as he sets his sights on the big screen. Jahmil’s first feature film, Umalusi, is due for release later this year.

Lunch spot: Feeling larney: FSH in Rosebank; On a guys’ day: Akhalwayas, Fordsburg

Karen Ter Morshuizen
Lunar is the lifestyle vision of fashion designer Karen Ter Morshuizen. Her partnership with Paul Harris saw the conception of a lifestyle store offering unique nature-inspired merchandise. Karen and her partner’s concepts and materials are based on an understanding of and sensitivity to environmental concerns. This influences their use of almost exclusively natural fibres and pigment dyes. Each collection reflects their essential design philosophy.

Karen enjoys reviving old-fashioned techniques: hand knitting, smocking, felting, African beading and hand embroidery. These crafts are often interpreted into uncomplicated designer garments. The result is a couture approach to ready-to-wear fashion. With these principles the fashion and décor brand aspires to enter the global market where they can reach a larger audience with their message and continue to contribute, educate and inspire. For Karen “Lunar is about finding inspiration in the small things around us, and emphasising an appreciation for our environment”.

Lunch spot: Nice, Parkhurst, Johannesburg

Ashraf Johaardien
Ashraf is the general manager of the Arts and Culture Trust. Not only an arts administrator, he is also a playwright and performer. His plays have been produced extensively in mainstream theatres and festivals in South Africa and internationally. His publications include Miracle, Coloured Son X and Salaam, published in 2007. Coloured Son X was performed both in South Africa and New York. Happy Endings Are Extra had performances in more than seven theatres in South Africa and abroad.

Aside from writing original theatre pieces, Ashraf also acknowledges the work of other writers who inspire him, and adapts it for the theatre. His work Ecce Home!, adapted from Body Blows, had six successful performances by Tim Allen. This year Grahamstown National Arts Festival goers can look forward to Ashraf’s new play, The Quiet Violence of Dreams, an adaptation of a novel by Sello Duiker.

Lunch spot: Bellinis, Illovo, Johannesburg

Nashen Moodley
Nashen is the 1998 recipient of the Mail & Guardian/SL Student Journalist of the Year Award. He has since been an arts journalist, writing about film and culture. A film critic for the Sunday Tribune, he contributes to several other newspapers and magazines including the Sunday Times and GQ.

Nashen currently holds a full-time position as manager and head programmer of one of South Africa’s longest-running festivals, the Durban International Film Festival.

Since 2005 he has also been a programming consultant for the Dubai International Film Festival and in December 2006 curated the first South African Film Festival in Tehran. He has also advised several other festivals, including India’s International Film Festival of Kerala, South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival and Africala in Mexico City. A notable expert in his field, this year he participated as a Berlinale Talent Campus expert at the International Filmfestspiele in Berlin. 

Lunch spot: Cafe 1999, Silverton Road, Durban

Mark Fransman
A 2008 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner, Mark is a composer, arranger and band leader with a string of awards under his belt. In 1996 he received the FNB Vita for most outstanding performer in musical theatre; in 2000 the Adcock Ingram Jazz Award; and in 2004 and 2007 was voted best producer at the South African Music Awards.

He has participated in major festivals across Europe and locally has graced stages at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Old Mutual and Standard Bank Jazz festivals. Mark has performed alongside big names such as Papa Wemba, Youssou N’Dour and Zim Ngqawana. He has recorded with Errol Dyers on Kou-Kou Wa and Jimmy Dludlu on Winds of Change.

A musician to be noted, Mark is currently devoted to working with his new group Strait and Narro on their debut album Ahead and the Johnnie Walker Jazz Impressions Vol 1.

Lunch spot: Wasabi Constantia, Cape Town

Jitsvinger
Jitsvinger aka Quinton Goliath is one of the city’s fastest rising hip-hop artists. His album Skeletsleutel is making waves across the country and features production by the High Voltage team as well as Shaheen Ariefdien, legendary producer of POC. Jits has been nominated for a Geraas Musiektoekenning and has appeared on numerous television shows featuring hip-hop and poetry. He has performed extensively from the Cape Flats parkjams to city clubs and the prestigious Spier Poetry Festival.

He’s collaborated with German hip-hop crew Each One Teach One and participated in the Rogue State of Mind project, a Swiss-South African collaboration album where the proceeds go to a Cape Town-based charity. A remix of Kaapse Dokter from his debut album done by Q35 of Vienna is soon to be released in Japan. He has also participated in the Robben Island Museum Summer School project as a writing tutor.

Reuben Riffel
Reuben then decided to return home to open his own restaurant. As Chef de Cusine and co-owner of Reuben’s Restaurant, he scooped top honours for Best Chef and Best Restaurant at the 2004 Eat Out Johnnie Walker Restaurant Awards. Reuben’s emphasis is on value for money and simple décor. His philosophy on food is keep it simple and you’ll achieve the perfect balance every time.

Lunch spot: Reubens Restaurant

Lindiwe Matshikiza
After graduating with first-class honours from Rhodes University, Lindiwe has successfully established a full-time career as a theatre performer and, when afforded the time, works on other entertainment projects.

Lindiwe has worked in Cape Town on a number of theatre productions, her most recent performance being in Bafana Republic—a one-woman comedy satire that has toured extensively and earned her great critical acclaim and the South African Comedy Award. She freelances in a variety of fields including educational theatre, events production management and film audience development.

Having worked on events such as Arts Alive and the Tri-continental Film Festival, Lindiwe also devises and runs several drama workshops for various school groups. She is currently directing Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman as part of the Flare project hosted by the Market Theatre and the Actor’s Centre.

Lunch spot: Cranks, Rosebank


Simphiwe began singing ceremonial circumcision and wedding songs to herself from as early as five years old. Listening to the radio she was influenced by local artists Madosini and Amampondo and the gospel singing in her local church. Her two offerings to date are Zandisile (2004) and The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street (2007).

Simphiwe performs with a band comprising South Africa’s finest crop of vocalists and instrumentalists. Her music is also currently studied at the Eastern University of Oregon.

Simphiwe has scooped an assortment of accolades both on home soil and abroad. Touring Switzerland in 2006 she received the Avo Session Arising Star. She has been nominated for 2008 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music—Africa. She is also a Sama winner and has shared the stage with Afro-pop star Angelique Kidjo. One Love Movement on Bantu Biko—Babuyile is one of her major goals.

Lunch spot: Soi, Melville

Chuma Sepotla
Yoga, mime and dance may be her special talents, but Chuma has proven that she has a whole lot more to offer. A performance graduate, she has a string of acclaimed theatre pieces under her belt. She has worked with internationally acclaimed directors Jay Pather and Lara Foot Newton, performing in theatres and festivals around the country. Not just a pretty face, she will creep up on you when least expected—like when she doubled up as a stunt performer in Leon Schuster’s Mama Jack.

Her talent has also taken her to on-screen roles in The Interrogation Room and numerous corporate videos. Committed to using her art as a vehicle for change, Chuma finds value in doing challenging and educational industrial­theatre pieces. It’s all rhythm and no blues for this performance dynamo as she continues to create.

Lunch spot: Embenzeni, Mowbray, Cape Town

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