Five South African illustrators making their mark

Design Indaba’s lineup of 40 rising talents for the 2015 Emerging Creatives programme at Design Indaba Expo includes a bunch of graphic designers with a nous for populist product development. They are all illustrators – the darlings of the graphic design world – who parlay their everyday lives and the things they see into precisely defined drawings. Some have turned their day-dreaming doodles into limited-edition art prints; while others champion pet projects they hope will make a difference.

Here is a sample of what you can expect to see from them.

Drawn to “clean, objective and thoughtful design”, Thulisizwe “Sizwe” Mamba is a graphic design student at the Durban University of Technology who runs his own conceptual design studio, Less. The images he produces for his Horizontalism Design project strive for a harmonious arrangement of forms that serve as an escape from reality. He prefers to see design as an “anaesthetic” and admires a clean simple approach.

Cape Town-based illustrator, photographer and curator Matthew Bradley describes his work as “mental notes” on his surroundings and experiences. “In illustration, I prefer to look at things through a humorous lens, creating visuals of the mundane with a twist,” he says. He is interested in exploring printing onto fabric for use in clothing and accessories, with a particular focus on illustration.

Describing herself as an obsessive doodler, Maria Van Wyk will bring her Wander.doodle range of limited-edition prints based on drawings from her everyday life. Included is a series of portrait of iconic women with whom she is fascinated, including illustrations of Carmen Miranda, Frida Kahlo and Winona Ryder. “She is, quite simply, a goddess,” says the graduate of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. “She had nine lives of ups and downs in her career but she is still a Hollywood favourite.”

A graphic design student at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Musonda Kabwe creates digital and hand-drawn illustrations, specialising in fine pencil and pen tonal portraits. He has applied his graphic style, which captures the dynamism of comic book illustrations to T-shirts, fine art poster prints, badges and stickers. He also customises merchandise such as shoes and caps.

Johannesburg-based Khosi Mpungose is a multimedia designer and the owner of a design firm, The Handsome Setup. Currently working at Microsoft as an intern, she is in the process of creating a children’s book, Thandi’s Trippy Trips, which incorporates geography, language, culture and history into an informative and entertaining series. The book will be available for purchase at Design Indaba Expo 2015.

Read more about South Africa’s next generation of creatives on

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