South Africa’s longest-running platform for supporting rising young talent is the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives Programme. Now in its 16th year, the programme continues unbroken in 2021, after completing its previous cycle in March 2020.
For 2021, the approach to the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives has been reformatted in response to the times. The new programme takes the form of an extended virtual exhibition and individual online profiles on www.designindaba.com, documentary videography, ongoing social media content on Design Indaba’s thriving channels, masterclass sessions with international and local experts that include UK-based Artsthread (one of the globe’s foremost resources for and about young talent), and inclusion on Design Indaba’s soon-to-be-launched Google Arts and Culture presence.
All this in celebration of the new crop of creatives who have emerged through the submissions and curatorial selection process.
Design Indaba Emerging Creatives is supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture with the aim of nurturing new talent. The programme successfully functions as a launching pad for careers. Over for years, it has provided a much-needed break for scores of young designers.
According to Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo: “We are extremely committed to this programme, and especially now, what with the economic impact of COVID-19, it is vital that we continue to support our youth and aid their entry into the local and global marketplace so that their stars can truly shine. Young talent, with so much potential, needs all the help it can get – and so we are thankful to the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for providing support for this programme.”
Many Design Indaba Emerging Creatives have gone on to achieve global recognition for their projects and brands. Famous names include fashion and homeware label MaXhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo, Kristin-lee Moolman, Thebe Magugu, Rich Mnisi, Katherine-Mary Pichulik of Pichulik, Neo Mahlangu, Andile Dyalvane, Cole Ndelu and a host of others.
In fact, Ndelu is one of this year’s curators, who, alongside fellow curator, Thabisa Mjo of Mash T. Design, was invited by Design Indaba to select this year’s final cut. Annually, 40 creatives are chosen from the slew of submissions received after Design Indaba puts out its nationwide call for proposals. The programme receives in excess of 200 submissions every year.
The final 40 creatives are chosen from across a wide range of design disciplines ranging from architecture and spatial design to product design, industrial design, photography, film, graphic design, illustration, ceramics, design for social impact, interior design, jewellery, fashion and the visual arts.