Author: keith

If there ever was a way to bow out of Youth Month with a bang, landing a feature on Mail & Guardian’s Young 200 Leaders list would be a great attempt and that is exactly what photographer and Umuzi multimedia recruit, Tshepiso Mabula has done.

A Design Indaba Emerging Young Creative 2017 member, Tshepiso Mabula is a Soweto based photographer born in the Lephalale district of Limpopo.

An encounter with renowned photographer Santu Mofokeng’s book Bloemhof, during a family visit in 2012, ignited her passion and intrigue for photography and there has been no stopping her ever since.

After completing her course at the Market Photo Workshop in documentary and photojournalism, Tshepiso joined the Umuzi Academy in 2016. She later went on to participate in Intercambiador ACART artist residency programme in Madrid Spain, where she produced and exhibited a body of work as part of a group exhibition at the Quinta del Sordo.

Reflecting the times and spaces she occupies in various bodies of work such as Makoti Kapa Lefetwa and her ongoing series Four Room, Seven Colours, Tshepiso captures ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances while concurrently commenting on societal ills and challenging various forms of systematic oppression such as patriarchy.

From all of us at Umuzi, wishing you more prosperity and light as you continue to use your voice and photography as a tool for advocacy and resistance.

To follow Tshepiso and keep up with her latest work follow her on:


Instagram: tshepisomabula and kasinomics_ 101


Women’s positions in relation to  power are slowly changing as more women become courageous and speak out about issues they face and overcome, this is evident in the various narratives being expressed in the arts.

Kwazinkosi Ndebele or “Kwazi” as she is affectionately known,  is a young black female architect/aspiring fine art student who considers herself a free thinker. Kwazi is also a firm believer in the South African communal philosophy of Ubuntu, which states that Umuntu nguMuntu ngaBantu (I am a because of others). Because of this philosophy Kwazi believes in the necessity of helping each other in order to advance collectively, however this is proving to be difficult considering dysfunctionalities in black families as a result of history and acts of oppression imposed on black South Africans previously. It’s been more than 20 years since South Africa’s democracy and a growing number of people are starting to realise the fallacy of this free and fair society. Our women are seen leading the forefront of narratives that have been muted over the years, and question their positions not only in South Africa’s history but one of a whole patriarchal world, where their identity is not just a South African one but an African sum.



Kwazi represents the new age revolution of woman who face such stereotypes and prejudices head on from influences of how she was brought up and where she wants to go.

As an aspiring fine art student; movements like the fine objects movement which is art created form undisguised but often modified objects that aren’t considered art because their functionality is already predefined, her and I drew curation from and created pieces that resemble objects that are objectified just like how women have been by men’s’ predefinition, to reanimated herself in reflection of her own identity and the outlook in which she projects herself as a woman of society.




Through still frames and the use of animated GIFs, Kwazi’s journey since birth to the growing woman she is today, is captured through a timeline from her childhood pictures; inanimate as an old photo book can be, to her finding animation in her becoming of womanhood.

As a young man who is borne into a black family from a womb of history that is made up of discrimination I am also a victim to perceptions of seeing women in vulnerable positions but in collaborating with Kwazi I broke away from what society has misconceived as the true roles women play.

We both hope to achieve absolute emancipation from how women are treated by men in black families by instilling a relationship that sees both sexes in equal harmony






Written by: Afari Kofi

Model: Kwasinkosi Ndebele

Images by: Afari Kofi


Women’s liberation and dusty days are the things South African Augusts are made of. As soon as amber winds make their debut,  you’ll be sure to hear the chant “Wathinth’ Abafazi, Wathinth Imbokodo” being echoed somewhere.

60 years after 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings protesting against pass laws, women world wide are still faced with issues of inequality, abuse and discrimination. And while the constant commercalisation guised as commemoration is tiresome, there is still a very real need to highlight issues facing women in the 20th century.

In a world were millions of women and young girls have their physical and emotional well being endangered purely on the premise of their gender, in a world where men are paid higher and black lesbians are violently killed and assaulted for their sexual orientation, we must make it our business to speak up. We must always be deliberate about our intolerance for injustice and inequality, but for our own growth and sanity we must also learn to celebrate, to applaud those who live their fullest potential against the odds. In a world where being black and being a woman earns you the lowest rank of value, events and ideals such as #ForBlackGirlsOnly and #BlackGirlMagic are not only necessary but affirming.

This month we’re celebrating women in all their variety… sdudla, slenda, straat-meid or mama wasekhaya. Whether uyasonta noma uthand’ uk’jaiva, domestic goddesses or tom-boy. To survive  in a world where women are constantly told that they’re not enough, celebrations are definitely in order.  Happy Queening, bo bbz!




Whether your a “born free” in South Africa, a third generation South African living in Baltimore or a financial consultant in Singapore Nelson Mandela is a name and a man recognisable the world over, a brand and social justice icon.  22 years into it’s democracy South Africans, particularly the youth, have grown disillusioned with the idea of a Rainbow Nation and uTata Madiba as the saint and saviour of black liberation.

The dysfunction and wonder that is South Africa is still trying to come to terms with what it means to “be alive with possibilities” and be “united in diversity” and with youth led movements such as the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall, it’s obvious that young people are not happy with the promises of the past.  Who is Nelson Mandela to young people in South Africa today? What does his legacy mean? What more could he have done? Who do we hold accountable now? How are we accountable? How do we reclaim Mandela from this pacifying sainthood?

There are many things that I wish Madiba had done, so many things, but he is not here now and we cannot continue to use his name as a balm or an insult. I cannot be angry at a dead man. I can tell you this though, I will not allow for the legacy of a man whose was used and abused and sacrificed to be pawned by the very system that oppressed him. I will not allow for Whiteness to sanctify him and claim him as their own when he is ours. I will not allow for the spirit of resistance to be pacified and whitewashed. He is ours, broken and faulty, he is ours. Living he was ours, resting he is ours.  -Vuyiswa Xekatwane


The debate around Mandela has always been one I prefer to be neutral about, mostly because I grew up believing that Mandela was my grandfather, he was everyone’s grandfather basically (or at least in my head). How does this not make sense to anyone else. Perhaps it was mostly because I saw a hero in him, more than anything else. He spoke for all of us right?  Therefore everything was meant to be okay. White people were supposed to see us as some kind of equals right? Until this one incident that took place in a shopping centre while I was with my parents. I don’t quite remember what fuelled it, but I remember my father saying in a rage to this white man he was confronting “I’m doing you a favour by addressing you in English”. And in that moment something in me shifted, where was my national grandfather? I didn’t quite understand it in that moment, but when I reflect on it now it still doesn’t sit well with me. With age comes understanding and empathy and many forms of tolerance right? Back to the point of staying on the neutral lane of Mandela debates. I often feel that he gave his life to the liberation of his people. The community he built (while in prison and before being imprisoned) may not be made up of the best candidates (hence many of us feel fucked a lot of the time). I’m grateful for not having to live most of my adult life according to a dictatorship. I always think that the revolutionists of that time had a plan to get out of the system, but hadn’t quite figured out how to maintain the freedom without anyone still feeling as though they’re in a different kind of prison – Rendani Nemakhavani


Rivonia Trialist supporters, led by Gertude Shope and other activists, outside the Palace of Justice.          Source: Pretoria News Library

All images sourced from:


The complexity of being “born free” or “a democracy baby” in an unjust, unequal South Africa means that every day is a constant juggle between gratitude and frustration. On one hand you’re aware and in awe of the sacrifices and bloodshed that made todays freedom possible, while on the other hand the knowing that there is still so much more to be done breeds frustration. Frustration with our government, our expectations of “A Better Life for All” and even a frustration with our ideas of what it means to be young and black in a democratic South Africa.

For most young people politics were a thing of prime time news, academia, elders and parliamentary chambers, or so it seemed. In recent months (perhaps even years) the #hashtag generation (Arab Spring, #BlackLivesMatter, #FeesMustFall, #RhodesMustFall) has proven that by all means necessary, young people will mobilize and they will be heard.


No amount of Madiba Magic or collection of our parent’s contribution to the liberation struggle will excuse us from doing the work of today. More and more young people are beginning to realise that politics are not debates and decisions made by a few elite for the vast majority. Politics are personal, they are about your life and they are about the here and the now.

While the legacy of liberation slips through the fingers of certain parties and younger, rumbustious ones gain momentum, the struggle of parties to engage young people in politics is probably a lot harder today than it was say 40 years ago in 1976. Who deserves our votes? Who is truly fighting for us and our future? Now that Mandela is gone, who steps in? Where is the leader that mirrors us? that commands our admiration?

Following the commemoration of 40 years since the Soweto Uprisings and in prelude to Mandela Day Umuzi asks young people what their thoughts are regarding Mandela Day, upcoming municipal elections and the state of politics 22 years into South Africa’s democracy and so we present; #dipolotiki: the politics of politcs, coming to a screen near Monday 18th July 2016.

Blessed with an abundance of talent in the form of videographers, graphic designers, photographers and writers Umuzi Academy is a creative hub where the standard for excellence is nothing but hot sh!t and to applaud and encourage our recruits for their work, Umuzi launched the Creative of the Month (#COM) competition.

Open to past and current Umuzi Academy recruits, submissions for the first Creative of the Month competition streamed in fast. Ranging from cityscapes, to powerful social commentary and even some humorous videos, the inaugural submissions made it very clear that deciding on a winner would not be an easy task.

Following an intense judging session, two winners were selected, Lungile Mofokeng and Lutendo Malatji. Lungile (or “Steez” as he is affectionately known to the Umuzi familia) reigns as this month’s Alumni winner for his community project Bicycle Stokvel, whilst Lutendo Malatji won the Current Recruit title for his photographic, fashion project Skapadiya.


Bicycle Stokvel






Till next time…hot shi!t k’phela.

To find out more about Bicyle Stokvel visit their Facebook page:

To find out more about Skapadiya, vist Lutendo’s Behance:

The youngest member of Velocity Afrika, filmmaker and director of  Hangman , Zwelethu Radebe came through to the Umuzi studio to give a masterclass on his journey as film maker and story teller.

Perseverance, endurance and the hunger to prove yourself sit on the top of the list of what passion looks like for Zwelethu, that said, the ultimate and most important aspect of it all is telling authentic and relevant stories.


Zwelethu’s love for film-making started from a young age when he would watch and study films and that drove him. He would go to the library and download scripts and work with those to develop his love for the industry. He got through school using the funding he received from film-making competitions.

“There is always something to say or another way for you to do something; limiting yourself because of funding, equipment or situation is allowing yourself failure before you even start,” he cautioned. Zweli never waited for things to come to him, and that pushed him even further. That where his uniqueness lies.

His mantra, and constant driving force is the desire to tell stories and the “importance of the African story.” He looks at situation from all angles and considers just what it means for our country and the local film industry. Zweli sites Nollywood, and how big they are becoming- bigger than Hollywood even – just by creating stories with what they have and however they can. “You can never have enough stories for a lifetime,” and that is where our power lies.

The projects he’s worked on include television ads and promos, most notably Mzansi Magic’s The Road, one for Ster-Kinekor and a more recent project called The Hangman; a movie documenting the story of self-discovery in South Africa during apartheid, which he is releasing later this year.

Take what people say you can’t do as a personal challenge, and don’t be dictated by your failures, is the biggest lesson I have taken from the talk given by Zweli and that in a way has calmed the storm of self-doubt in probably everyone’s head.

Written by: Karabo Seloane





The One Club Creative Bootcamp finally comes to Joburg from the 11-15of July 2016 and Umuzi Academy is proud to announce its participation in one of the most prestigious creative boot camps in the world.

A 4-day workshop that introduces students to the creative side of advertising from the ground up, the One Club Creative Bootcamp provides emerging creatives with the opportunity to learn more about the advertising industry, network as well as receive valuable advice from top industry creatives and executives.

Having successfully run Creative boot camps in cities such as Chicago and San Francisco, the One Club Creative Bootcamp ascended on South African shores last year to conduct the very first South African One Club Creative Bootcamp and after a successful inception in Cape Town, this year Johannesburg finds itself amongst the list of participating cities.

Providing a great opportunity for creatives in Johannesburg and South Africa to contribute to excellence in advertising the One Club partners with top agencies such as FCB, M&C Saatchi, Joe Public, King James and top brands such as Vodacom and Protea Hotel.

Umuzi is honoured to be one of the selected institutions to partake in the inaugural Johannesburg One Club Creative Bootcamp and wish our recruits the all the best. Hot sh!t, k’phela!


one show poster 2016 (1) (1)

Don’t even bother trying to look up the term ‘Black Girl Magic’ and what it means, because all you have to do is have a simple conversation with Milusithando Bongela aka Miss Milli B to experience it. Umuzi was alive with conversation on last Thursday when the editor of the Mail and Guardian Friday, joined us in studio. At 31, Milli B is like that intangible beauty with star dust in her soul, dark brown skin, wise golden words in her belly and ‘woke’ inspiration for days.

“Our role as writers is to interpret the world for people,” she humbly stated during what she stubbornly refused to call a ‘Masterclass’ session, because she doesn’t even consider herself to be one.


“Me coming in here as a ‘master’ to come talk to you guys is nerve wrecking for me. I don’t like to see myself so superimposed,” she gushed, once more, having a modest view of her importance. Laughs – but we know better. She obviously has a disdain for motivational talking but her story resonates so much truth for the average black creative out there, trying by all means to make it big.

After getting her journalism degree from Rhodes University, Milli embarked on her journey to becoming the sum of so many things.

With the desire to make something interesting out of her life, Milli became a fashion assistant, worked at bars to make extra cash, failed her driver’s license a record of four times! Yes, four times, but still kept on pushing. With her enduring spirit, she eventually hustled her way to the city of gold.

“The train to the Joburg station is closed now. However, now that we are ‘woke’ and ‘broke’ what next?” she questioned, challenging us to really define what it is we are trying to accomplish as creatives in a world full of so much irrelevance.

Touching on the ‘comparison monster’ and how difficult it is to develop a unique voice, she had this to say: “As a writer and as a creative, your emotional health is extremely important.” In depth, her words resonate character and how vital it is to sometimes switch off the internet and harness some alone time. “Listen to your silence,” she urged.


“We get to a stage in life where the hustle is not cute anymore,” she then joked, reflecting on how her overall goal is to shine light on the immense beauty of black people. “I’m not trying to be a New York Times Bestseller, I’m trying to help my people, build a farm at home and educate the people. We need to work for the next generations, so that they don’t have to try and unlearn the cruelty of the world.” There is power in the way she stood so firm on her selfless purpose to enlighten people.

She then spoke on the importance of infiltrating institutions like the Mail and Guardian where she currently works. “These institutions are ours too. Any publication not tapping into what the youth is doing is not going to survive.” Best believe she’s doing some awesome things as an editor and is not going to stop there.

In the spirit of creative endurance, which is what Umuzi is all about, I urge you all to persevere for you never know what your stars hold. So what is it that you’re doing to infiltrate the industry? Food for thought?

By Janneth Mazibuko




This week we are bringing it home and dedicating the entire week to our community. These are the young men and women who have been through our programmes as far back as 2009 and are now soaring in the creative world.

This week we will profile our Alumni in diverse industries, all striving to be the best and challenging the narrative in their own way.

Our community will be doing everything from #CCM (Creative Crush Monday) to delivering a Masterclass. iLife ifana nama dice this week so enjoy as our community brings it back home.

Featured this week:
Andrew Soglo
Mow Ignatious Xhosa
Kgomotso Neto Tleane
Ossmane Mulungo