300 Young South Africans: Arts and Culture (Part 2)

In this section: Toast Coetzer, Nkhensani Nkosi, Sticky Antlers, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Joey Rasdien, Kevisan Naidoo, Mokena Makeka and more…


Toast Coetzer, Musician, poet, photographer and journalist

Toast Coetzer says the thing that makes his mother most proud is that he works for the travel magazines Go! and Weg. But his fans will know him as the front man of cult music outfit Buckfever Underground, whose four albums have been lauded by critics.

But Coetzer’s printed word is spreading fast.
He is the co-editor of Ons Klyntji, an erratic zine, with Erns Grundling and Drikus Barnard. And he’s one of South Africa’s finest poets, published in several collections, including the recently released Groot Verseboek.

His novella Naweek—completed during his creative writing master’s at the University of Cape Town—will be published in August this year and Key to Cape Town, a guide to the mother city, which he collaborated with photographer Sam Reinders, was recently released.—Lloyd Gedye

Lunch spot: Da Gama Tavern, Green Point, Cape Town


Nkhensani Nkosi, Designer

One of Africa’s hottest designers—who came off an impressive showing at New York’s Fashion Week earlier this year—didn’t start out in fashion. Nkhensani Nkosi was touring Africa as the host of M-Net’s Face of Africa modelling competition when she saw a gap in the market. Her mission: to harness the energy of Africa in a luxury lifestyle brand.

And ever since that first show at South Africa’s Fashion Week in 2000, her company, Stoned Cherrie has done just that. Along with the flagship store in Rosebank, they’ve moved big into Woolworths and have hit the African eyewear market hard, selling Stoned Cherrie glasses across the continent and in a few select locations in Australia and Canada as well. And the design house has finally begun their move into home furnishings with their line of designer upholstery, which launched at the recent Design Indaba.—Tanya Pampalone

Lunch spot: Orient, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg


Sticky Antlers, Musicians

The Sticky Antlers are Pretoria’s best-kept secret. They formed when bassist Martinique Pelser and guitarist Andreas Schonfeldt lured guitarist Damon Civin and drummer Jaco Amino into forming an improvisational band a few years back.

Influenced by the DIY process, outsider art, films and subversive comics such as Bitterkomix and a wide range of musical influences such as The Fall, Sonic Youth and The Boredoms, the Antlers recorded a slew of Sticky CD-Rs and have now completed their debut multi-track album, which is set to become a South African cult classic.

Distributed by local music legend Paul Riekert’s One F music label, 2009 is shaping up to be the breakthrough year. Check out their independent label KRNGY, which releases a whole host of independent CD-Rs from Pretoria.—Lloyd Gedye

Lunch spot: Oni’s Pizza, Deerness, Pretoria


BLKJKS, Musicians

Currently on tour in Europe and the United States, the BLK JKS are South Africa’s rising stars. With a new EP produced by Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis at Electric Lady studios, the international press are clamouring for a piece of the JKS.

Formed a few years ago by guitarists Linda Buthelezi and Mpumi Mcata from Spruitview, it wasn’t long before bassist Molefi Makananise and drummer Thsepang Ramoba from Soweto came on board to create the powerhouse four-piece band.

They recently signed to international label Secretly Canadian and acquired a New York-based manager—it seems the world is their playground.

Their new EP, dubbed Mystery sees the band venturing into more experimental territory, which is best described as free jazz meets art rock. Curtis has managed to capture some of the mayhem that is the BLK JKS live, which is something the band has struggled with in the past.—Lloyd Gedye

Lunch spot: Akhalawayas Mayfair, Johannesburg


Joey Rasdien, Comedian

The smart guys over at the local NGO arm of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health knew what they were doing when they signed up Joey Rasdien as the wise-cracking voice of Victor in their Scrutinize campaign.

Designed to combat what they call ‘Aids fatigue” the creators of the animated skit woke up the young to the epidemic by combining a South Park cartoon-style with a uniquely South African township attitude that Rasdien was perfectly poised to embrace.

One of the coolest cats on the stand-up circuit with his uncontrollable afro, Rasdien’s performance in Bunny Show—the surprise hit that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival a few years back—catapulted him into the comedic big time.

Rasdien is working on his own sitcom Rasdien for SABC2, a stand up comedy documentary with Anant Singh, and two movies.—Tanya Pampalone

Lunch spot: Bismillah, Fordsburg, Johannesburg


Kesivan Naidoo, Musician

Drummer Kesivan Naidoo’s love affair with music started at the age of 10. But it wasn’t until 1994 that he made his professional debut.

He played at the Hoggsback Jazz Festival 1994 in the Webster jazz quintet, with top international musicians. He was the only South African to perform with the Kennedy Centre Jazz Ambassadors.

Naidoo, who won the 2008 Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist of the Year, is now 29. He plays locally with the Restless Natives, Closet Snare and Tribe, who he performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland.

He completed his honours degree in performance and composition at the University of Cape Town. And after wining the 1999 South African Music Rights Organisation’s Scholarship, Naidoo studied the tabla in Kolkata. He says living in India confirmed exactly ‘how Indian I’m not and how South African I am”.—Percy Mabandu

Lunch spot: Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town


Mokena Makeka, Architect

Architect Mokena Makeka believes he can change the world with design. With his own architecture company, Makeka Design Laboratory, which he started while studying at the University of Cape Town, he’s off to a good start. His company was awarded best performing young business in the architecture industry in 2005.

Makeka is one of two architects in Africa who have been selected to design luxury villas in China, with some of the hottest emerging architects in the world; he was also selected vice chair of the Cape Town Heritage Trust in 2006.—Percy Mabandu

Lunch spot: Peppenero, Mouille Point, Cape Town


Lindiwe Matshikiza, Actor

Lindiwe Matshikiza is a beauty. Men go weak around her—or at least the two who casually disturb our conversation to talk to her at a Newtown coffee shop certainly do.

Even underneath oversized blue perspex sunglasses, there is no denying she is her father’s child. ‘I’m in love with that era’s fashion and music,” says the daughter of writer and actor John Matshikiza, who died suddenly late last year.

‘A lot of exciting things came out of [the Seventies].”

In addition to acting, writing and directing, Matshikiza works in educational theatre, performing and facilitating workshops. Her work on the controversial and critically acclaimed Bafana Republic earned her three award nominations and a Best South African Comedy Award.—Karabo Keepile

Lunch spot: Mong Kok, Cyrildene, Johannesburg


Natalia Molebatsi, Poet

Natalia Molebatsi says she can’t remember when she started writing poetry because ‘it has always been in the blood”. The editor of We Are— A Poetry Anthology brought together work written by local poets Lebo Mashile, Napo and others in the collection.

Molebatsi has had her work translated into Italian and Dutch in academic literary journals such as Kuma and Les Simpledadi. She has also contributed to more than 10 anthologies, including the bilingual I nostri semi/Peo tsa Rona and The Goddess Awakened. But it is her work coordinating marketing activities at Unisa’s library and facilitatating workshops on sexuality, human rights and creative writing in schools and universities around South Africa and Italy that is helping to transform the next generation.— Karabo Keepile

Lunch spot: Queen of Sheba, Sunnyside, Pretoria


Nandipha Mntambo, Visual artist
Visual artist Nandipha Mntambo says she doesn’t keep pictures of herself. Well, except those of her performances. Her artworks explore and offer challenges to stereotypical ideas of femininity and the female form. Mntambo’s work makes use of shaped and stiffened cowhides as well as bones, beads and other materials.

This 27-year-old was born in Swaziland but lives and works in Cape Town. She graduated with a master’s in fine art at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.

Mntambo’s works have been exhibited both locally and internationally to acclaim. She was one of five young artists selected for the MTN New Contemporaries exhibition in Johannesburg in 2006. In 2008, she was part of the Apartheid: The South African Mirror at the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona exhibition. This 2005 Brett Kebble Art Awards Curatorial Fellow should be watched closely.—Percy Mabandu

Lunch spot: Nzolo Cafe, Cape Town

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