Author: mikeymashila

Cedrick Nzaka is a Kenyan-born and raised photographer, currently based in South Africa. He describes himself as a humanitarian, social documentary and landscape photographer, with a particular interest in fashion and portrait photography.


He is the Founder of EveryDayPeopleStories an online publication that allows young creatives a platform to showcase their talent through fashion editorials, poetry and short stories.

EveryDayPeopleStories mends the bridge between Local and International creatives and gives them a platform to interact and collaborate through different avenues the platforms presented for interactions are mostly through individual interviews which create insights into specific individual works and what projects they are involved in.

‘’I wish to retain the charm and mental purity of the youth, yet attain the virility/muliebrity and respect of maturity.’’- Cedrick Nzaka

Among other accolades, Cedric Nzaka has built a strong client base with clients such as Toyota, Fiat,

South African National Road Agency, Afro Punk, Sunday Times, just to name a few.

Click HERE to connect with Cedrick.

Thabang “Tipidang” Manyelo is a multi-awarded copywriter from FCB Africa. At such a young age, the plethora of awards he has won range from countless Loeries, Pendorings, Cannes Lions, a campaign D&AD Pencil, and South Africa’s first One Show Best Of Show in the Radio Discipline. He is driven by ideas that change the landscape of the industry.

He’s been writing all his life until he made a life-changing discovery after attending a Vega School open day. Tipi couldn’t believe there was a career whereby one gets paid to write – that pushed Tipi to enroll to Vega school and launch his dream career.He grew up in Polokwane, Limpopo, he was raised by his grandmother after he lost his parents when he was 8-years-old. His grandmother fully backed his desire to go to Vega (much to the disapproval of his other family members).

Fast forward…. he then kick-started his career at FCB Africa and, six years later, he has grown into one of the agency’s finest copywriters of award-winning work for clients which include NetFlorist, CANSA, Gill, Toyota and Coca Cola. His most recent awards include Best of Show in radio at the One Show Awards, as well as a Graphite Pencil at D&AD. Tipi was the Inaugural Comedy Central Inter-Agency Comedy-Knockout Champion and in 2016 he was one of the judges of the Loeries non-English TV, radio and print category.

This year Thabang won The 2017 Loeries Young Creatives Award for his award-winning work with FCB Africa. 

Umuzi celebrates young creatives like Thabang.

We applaud creatives that are creating work that goes beyond the hype.

The Daily Maverick Gathering in collaboration with Nando’s and Eyewitness News was nothing short of insightful and shocking. Let me start by saying that while a conference on democracy is always a good idea. A conference in Sandton at R2000 is simply not. As part of the Youth I find it crazy to think that whilst we dominate the statistics, we are not included in conversations like these. After Sizwe Mpofu Welsch performance, the youngest speaker was over 40.

         Sizwe Mpofu Welsch at #NandosDMGathering, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

I don’t blame just the organisers alone, this is more a look into society that the have-nots are the biggest audience, biggest voting block, biggest opportunity and yet time and time again we are excluded, forgotten or just brushed aside. As a nation we need to do more to build more access.

Nonetheless, moments that stood out for me have to be the four ANC keynote speakers that pulled out of the event at the last moment. Namely Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Lindiwe Sisulu, Cyril Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize. I wasn’t even surprised because that’s how the ANC rolls right? Overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t get me wrong, this is not another attack at the ANC that will be met by retaliation, thinking I’ve been sent by Abelungu. Magoa a tenna, you and I both know that, but we will get to them later. The focal point is to break down numerous issues that stood out for me at the event that I hope will evoke a sense of urgency for us to do something and make you aware of the repercussions of leadership shortcomings.

          Dr Makhosi Khoza at #NandosDMGathering, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

Dr Makhosi Khoza’s words are still imprinted in my mind when she said that ‘’Corruption is not a victimless crime.’’ She couldn’t have said it more accurately because the damage done by #patronage and #statecapture is colossal. The lack of moral vision and ethical leadership has deeply affected the economy. All the money that is supposed to be invested in education takes a U-turn and falls into the pockets of friends, the politically affiliated and corrupt leaders alike. My dream was, and still is to go to University and attain a Journalism Degree with the sole purpose of dismantling injustices perpetuated by those in power and be a representative for the helpless. However as long as those who are corrupt remain in power, this dream, like a million others, will remain a dream to us. We constantly have to take short cuts, back doors and compromise to get close to the dream. All the parliamentary Gucci shoes, fireproof pools, luxury cars and lavish expenditures could be sending every poor black child to university. Educated enough to ensure and restore economic emancipation. If we are not empowered enough, how will we follow the right measures to acquire our land back, to ensure that black people have access, a fair share and influence on our resources. Corruption is indeed an enemy of black people’s progress. How did these leaders get to be an enemy to their own kind?

         Mmmusi Maimane at #NandosDMGathering, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

Furthermore, living in South Africa at the moment feels like living in a pyramid, with ordinary citizens at the bottom scourging for the scraps that the leaders at the top throw at them. Social grants recipients feel the most pain, as they go for months without receiving their government aid. More so, I would like to quote Mmusi Maimane when he said “we need to fix the state so that the Youth can have an interest in working in governance, and they currently have no interest at all, and that shouldn’t be the case.’’ We deem it as a place where moral decadence is the order of the day, where corruption and adequate service delivery to the normal citizen is underwhelming. We choose instead to express ourselves in song and drown our frustrations in substances every other day, in an attempt to numb ourselves from the struggles of our era that just don’t make sense. I am writing this because I feel that we have a responsibility as young people to voice out, blog about, speak out and express our disappointment in what South Africa is today. For what will be left for tomorrow when we lead? How will we be any different if there won’t be anything to lead? When it is our time to lead, what will there be when all those who are the beneficiaries of looting and white monopoly capital would have got what they want? A point where South Africa will have nothing left to give. And as ordinary civilians we will all be left in shame and poverty – lacking a foundation to build on.


          Former Zimbabwe, Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

One of my biggest take outs from the event is that we need to understand that Zimbabwe’s economic status quo did not happen overnight. It all seemed like a joke, the same way that South Africa is spearheading. A fluctuating economy, self-gain and greed of political leaders, state owned institutions and services dilapidating. We have a perfect reference point down the border, on how our current President could have corrected the errors of other African leaders, but South Africa is worse than when the current leadership found it. If we tumble down the drain, we are tumbling with an education that is quantitative but not qualitative, with degrees that translate to nothing in a jobless state. This makes me echo Dr Makhosi Khoza’s phrase that is still woven into the fabrics of my mind, that ‘’there is no dignity in unemployment.’’  People get reduced to nothingness when they are not working, not able to provide for their families, leading people to depression and low self-esteem.

          Audience at the gathering, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

I am also pleased that the issue of ageism was addressed, although not fully. I believe that there is suitable and qualified Youth who should be taking up active leadership roles and dominating the parliament. A Youth that has a good grasp on sound policies to transform our country. And the fact that old civilians who should be at home playing with their grandkids full time are running the parliament is disturbing.

Furthermore, triggered by a female guest’s comment in the audience, she pinpointed how women still lack substantial representation. I have observed undertones of patriarchy in the system. How did we arrive at a point where ‘’flavoured condoms that don’t make noise’’ are much of a priority than a young girl’s sanitary towels. Tell me why sanitary towels in this day and age are still not free to all the young girls that cannot afford them? The ruling party and opposition alike in my view only want our votes when it is that time of the year, our voice when we speak against those who threaten their looting or capitalism? Again How SWAY? How do we cautiously choose people who have our best interests and have great foresight for our nation?

         Nomboniso Gasa , photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

The only way to move forward in my view, is to take heed of Mavuso Msimang’s  words which essentially echoed the sentiments of  the numerous that took to the stage. He emphasised that “state capture should be taken very seriously, and we should hold the people that we swore in to accountability no matter the cost.’’ Mr Msimang went on to accentuate the importance of having a code of ethics that leaders should adhere to instead of having an individual running, hiring and dismissing who they see fit in an unconstitutional way.

Considering that we declare South Africa to be a democratic state, this shouldnt even be an issue. The former Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe Tendai Biti was a keynote speaker and couldn’t help applauding the South African Constitution and Judiciary system. Drafted and implemented so beautifully. But I fail to understand how it fails to make the corrupt weak on the knees.

So we cannot let them lead us anymore, and THEM in this context is inclusive of all the corrupt politicians who regard themselves as our leaders. As Bantu Holomisa said “… the problem started when they believed that they are our masters, when in true essence they are our servants elected to serve us. And it is time for the civil society to lead us.” We need people who have our struggles and needs at heart, people who will serve us and lead us to the ‘Promised Land’. I am a representative of every black child who has been hindered to fully reach their potential and we will not rest until we hold the faulty accountable!

 Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, photo by Nonku Chabalala

And in the words of Julius Malema who was robust in expression “We must generate a new form of democracy, voters must exercise their power … voters must know the power they have. ’’ Therefore it is the time for the people to lead, we know the problems and how we plan to solve them. I am craving that Martin Luther King leadership, that Thomas Sankara and Steve Biko kind. Leadership which was only about the people. In my observation they have all failed us; anyone who will come after the current leadership will just preach the same gospel. We are sickened by having our country captured right under our nose, having the minority owning the greater fraction of wealth and the most corrupt running our law enforcement. In the end the black person feels the biggest pinch.

         Former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, photo by Nonkululeko Chabalala

In the words of Pravin Gordhan “the majority have no assets; people have nothing tangible to pass on to their kids except poverty.” How do you think it makes us, the Youth, feel that we are still in the same place as we were in 1994 and we are going nowhere fast? So in conclusion I say corruption will fall, #statecapturewillfall, #whitemonopolycapitalwillfall, #ageismwillfall, #patriarchywillfall and the PEOPLE will rise, the BLACK child will rise…


Written by Gugsie (Umuzi Copywriting Recruit)

Compiled by Mikey Mashila

Partner with Umuzi to transform your digital talent pipeline.

South African companies have to transform. Many companies are scrambling to meet the the more stringent BBBEE requirements, which come into effect in 2018. Too often, BBBEE Skills Development and Enterprise Development budgets get wasted on meeting these minimum targets, rather than contributing to true transformation and developing diverse, world-class talent.

Umuzi is a unique organisation that is partnering with leading South African companies in order to use BBBEE Skills and Enterprise Development budgets, SETA funding, and SARS tax rebates, to build a sustainable talent pipeline for scarce skills. We’ve built successful partnerships with Investec, FCB, Native VML, King James, FoxP2, and many more creative and tech industry leaders.

What makes Umuzi different: Companies partner with Umuzi to find and train high-potential young people on our SETA accredited learnership programme

  • We are demand driven: we work with leading companies, like yours, to understand your creative and tech skills shortages, and match these to talent with our learnership programme:
  • We produce highly-skilled, employable graduates: 80% of our graduates get jobs at top employers.
  • We train relevant, scarce skills: we produce junior employees with these skills…
  • Multimedia Storytelling: content producers specialising in either videography or motion graphics.
  • Creative: conceptual designers and copywriters
  • Coding: full-stack developers versed in JS and Node.JS
  • Strategy: business analysts with a focus in digital strategy and user experience design.
  • Data / analytics: currently piloting..
  • We are a BBBEE level-1 content producer: we do professional creative work for leading agencies and brands.
  • Our programmes are cost effective: we work with companies to take advantage of SETA learnership funding and SARS tax rebates to ensure our programmes are affordable and sustainable.

Contact us to transform your digital talent pipeline:

Want to learn more? We’d love to talk to you to see how we might partner to build a talent pipeline for your specific needs.

Here is some more information about Umuzi and our learnership programme:

  1. About Umuzi
  2. About our learnership
  3. What you need to know about the MAC Charter Skills Development
  4. What you need to know about SARS learnership tax rebate

Thuto Mofokeng is a Soweto born videographer, photographer, co-founder of Nothing Ordinary Artworks and a multimedia recruit at Umuzi Academy.

Thina e’kasi, a photo series – which is composed mainly of portraits explores the social economic struggles and the cultures that exist in the townships of South Africa. This photo series is aimed at desensitizing the realities of South African townships to a broad audience, of individuals, through an intriguing cold, a saturated aesthetic that portrays the subjects in the images in an accurate manner.

My art is mainly influenced by society’s beliefs, morals and values and the prejudices that exist within society. Time is an essential element in influencing my subject matters.” – Thuto Mofokeng on Conte Magazine.

Thuto’s series is inspired by the environment of his community. Soweto paints or portrays the inequality which plagues south Africa so well, the photo series explores the cultures which exist within these environments and dismantle the stereotypes which exist regarding black culture.

The Johannesburg CBD is cramped with people who come from all over the continent; they arrive in the City of Gold with aspirations of creating better lives for themselves. They leave their hometowns or home countries with very little, hoping that their journey into the unknown yields superior opportunities.For many of these off-comers, a trip that might have started with anticipation and weighty conviction usually ends with homelessness and extreme poverty, forcing them to survive under really devastating conditions. Many of them end up living in the cheapest and sometimes the most harmful buildings in the city. These sometimes range from debilitating or illegally occupied and hijacked buildings.  These are the same buildings that some residents have recently been forced to move away from when the city decided to revamp, leaving the poor battling for housing.When photographer and storyteller, Tshepiso Mabula, heard about the evictions, she says she rushed to Doorfontein hoping to capture the evictions with her camera. Tshepiso’s visit ended up documenting what’s become a riveting photo essay that followed both those who were forced to move and the people hired to make it happen.The 25-year-old writer and photographer self-identifies as someone who captures the dignity of ordinary people, far removed from the glamorous or ideal atmospheres of high-profile photography.Tshepiso is a visual observer of Bantu living as well as a storyteller who believes that her calling is to produce work that promotes equity and social unity, seeking to correct the injustices that exist in our everyday culture. To her social justice means being able to embrace our similarities as a people while working towards creating a society where all can live freely without prejudice.‘This essay looks at the relationships people create with the spaces they inhabit using the recent evictions of residents in Johannesburg buildings.This essay looks at how people from the same socio-economic spectrum were pitted against each other in a single day, how one group moved from evicting people who are as poor as them to playing soccer in the street and cordoning off the building, and how the other was left homeless and hopeless after being evicted from the homes they created.The purpose of this essay is to highlight the housing problem in Johannesburg inner city and how it affects the relationships that people build among each other.’ – Tshepiso  

She also points out that her passion to tell this type of story through her work was inspired by the fact that ‘As a child of a working-class family from the rural Eastern Cape, I know all too well how it feels to have to recreate a home, far away from home.’Tshepiso’s photo series scored her not only a nomination but also a big win in our #COM. Creative of the Month is a bi-monthly competition that is meant to celebrate creatives within our community. We hope with each nomination and with each win, current recruits and our alumni are always inspired to create and exhibit their best work!

Congratulations Tshepiso hope you enjoy your prize!

To see the rest of the photo essay, visit her Behance website here:

Presenting an introductory workshop to isiBheqe soHlamvu at Umuzi, Pule kaJanolintshi, an artist and linguist, projects an image of what appears to be an “upside-down” map of Africa onto the wall. Someone in the audience quickly remarks that the map is facing the wrong way.  “You mean, the right way round… We’re in the South why can’t we be at the top? Whether the map is the right or the wrong way around depends on your orientation”, Pule pushes back. Decolonisation in practice, Ditema tsa Dinoko, challenges us to recondition and develop ways of understanding beyond conventional Western practices. Much like the disputed map, isiBheqe is an exercise in reimagining and reconstructing.

Developed over the past three years by a team of linguists and designers, isiBheqe soHlamvu, also known as Ditema tsa Dinoko, is a syllabic writing system, meaning the symbols are expressed as syllables as opposed to individual sounds like alphabetic letters. The system is informed by indigenous Southern African symbolic design traditions, considering Sesotho, isiNdebele and isiNguni symbols, like the beading artform ibheqe.

IsiBheqe soHlamvu makes use of triangular forms prevalent in these traditions that can create patterns as a means of communication. And while isiBheqe is a writing system the triangular symbols aren’t like conventional alphabets but, like music, representations of sound. Also known as a featural writing system, isiBheqe symbols are informed by articulation – the use of physical organs such as your lips, tongue and jaw when pronouncing the syllables of words – the way words sound.

The first featural writing system of the 21st century (featural writing systems, such as Korean Hangeul, date back to the 15th century), the developers of isiBheqe hope to encourage the use of the writing system through their website which boasts an isiBheqe keyboard, and eventually have isiBheqe recognized by the Unicode Consortium.

Bringing isiBheqe to life, Umuzi in collaboration with Afropunk, an influential community of young people of all backgrounds speaking through music, art, film, lifestyle sports, fashion, and photography, present Ringa, an exhibition exploring  the concept of language in Southern Africa as a complex singularity, rather than languages as separate entities.

On 5 October, as part of the Braamfontein’s First Thursday programme, a group of Umuzi young artists, partnering with Sandile Radebe and Pule kaJanolintshi, will use Isibheqe, an indigenous writing system for Southern African languages, as a medium to convey an everyday, pan-lingual experience.

As summer rolls into Jozi we are back at 70 Juta Street for our 5th First Thursday collaboration RINGA! Exhibition of Taal.

Umuzi are excited to be partnering with Afropunk, Sandile Radebe and Pule kaJanolintshi to offer up a thought-provoking exploration of language in Southern Africa as a complex singularity a river system in dynamic flow full of all the varied styles of speech around us, and their graphic representation in different systems of writing, not just the Roman alphabet that we learn at school, but the writing systems that are indigenous to this continent.

Language as a fundamental part of experience is actually a special kind of natural code we use in conveying thoughts between us, whether it be with the voice (spoken languages) or with the body (signed languages).  We further encode the code of language graphically through writing, which is nothing but a cultural technology that transports words across space and time. Speech, sign and writing are as much markers of identity as they are ways of expressing our beliefs, desires and history. They are the inqolobane where we store culture, through which we often unconsciously reflect and share collective memory.

This exhibition, mounted by young South African artists of Umuzi Academy, explores these relationships between the visual and oral of language in this region of the world.

It features artworks that speak to both official and non-official everyday language, from Is’Camtho and Tsotsitaal to IsiMpondro and Tshivenḓa, incorporating various writing systems, such as isiBheqe Sohlamvu (Ditema tsa Dinoko), Adinkra symbols of West Africa, the Mandombe script of Congo, the Zẖȝ n Mdw-Nṯr of ancient Egypt, or the Jawi ajami for writing Afrikaans in Arabic characters.

Ringa! brings language to the fore in a way you’ve never seen it before. So be sure to make your way to 70 Juta Street this First Thursday as we exhibit unusual reflections on taal in sound and image.

Plan of the Exhibition

We invite you to enter umuzi wethu, the walls of which extend onto the pavement of Juta Street, eGoli. On the ground you will see isibheqe characters spelling out U-MU-ZI. Inside the main spaces there an ‘oceans’ which represent the groups of structural similarity in language of this region of the continent. On two walls you will see the works of Umuzi Recruits, sharing thoughts on what language means in this country, and on the facing walls, a ‘topographical map’ depicting a river system, flowing between planes of elevation. These rivers are Language. Zwakala ublom’ emlanjeni nathi, o jaje Ringas van die plek ya rona, ma-Afrika.

A River of Language…

Mulambo wa Luambo. Umfula Wolimi. Noka ya Leleme.  Mulabho Whelilimi. Gowab di Kai! Garib. Nambu wa Ririmi. Xoaki se G!ari. Rivier van Taal

An installation on both sides of the conjoining wall that simultaneously acts as part of the isibheqe character spelling the ZI of umuzi on the floor of the space depicts language as a flowing river, made up of ways of speaking. The water is speech, as it runs it says:

khuluma, bua, thetha, bolela, vulavula, amba. But it also says: bhobha, tekela, ndrondroza, tshefula, ngangaza, yeyeza, apa, bola, and bolabola; and it even says !hoa, khom, ǂxoa, ||ãla, and tana.

These are words we use to describe how we talk. Styles of speech connected to each other in specific ways, ordered logically here in a kind of topographical map. It is a dynamic flow of language forms around the country: three kinds of river systems that run from the three sources in three mountains of linguistic heritage called: Ntu, Khoe & !Ui-Taa. They pool into lakes that are natural collections of language in a cultural context forming a specific linguistic variety with its particular features.

But they also are forced into dams, that are man-made artificially formed varieties the standardised dictionary languages that are used as official languages…

We usually only think in terms of dams. We freeze language in the walls of dictionaries. Let us begin to flow from them and hear the different sounds of the water as it runs.