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"My number one piece of advice is: you should learn to program."
Mark Zuckerberg
Why do we offer this department:

Whether we’re interacting with cellphones, the internet, smartwatches or even smart fridges, technology is prevalent wherever we look. Our world is rapidly changing from a physical to a digitally integrated society, and coders are the master builders of this new world. As users gain increasingly easier access to this technology, the demand for skilled developers required to build has risen as well.

Career Prospects

- Role and earning potential

Coders can work for the largest or smallest companies, working on neural networks for Google or building basic websites for mom and pop shops. Wherever there is a need for digital development work, there is a need for coders/developers.

Once you graduate from Umuzi, you’ll be able to work Job Opportunities as a :

  • Full Stack developer
  • Front end developer
  • Back end developer
  • Database developer

QA (“quality assurance” which is all about testing code to check it does what it should) With a global focus on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and natural language learning systems. The current market welcomes motivated developers with open arms.

Tech Skills you will learn:

Umuzi has identified key languages being used in the current market that are vital for coders to know. These are:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
Professional Skills you will learn:

A key focus for Umuzi is to produce coders that are not just one-trick ponies. We want coders to enter the market with a good foundation of general knowledge surrounding the digital development space. This means learning skills such as:

  • Agile
  • Human Centered Design
  • Project Management - Prioritising work with Kanban boards
  • Basic Wireframing
  • Conducting meetings
  • Basic UX
  • Basic copywriting and design.


"Stories are the currency of human contact."
Robert McKee

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a story. Whether you’re sitting around a fire or watching the latest Hollywood 3D blockbuster, storytelling is our most powerful means of communication. The skill of storytelling is increasingly in demand as organizations and brands realize its power to connect and communicate.

Today’s storytellers play with a variety of mediums from video, motion graphics, animation, and even interactive games, to develop rich, focused narratives.

Your career can go anywhere from Researcher, Production Assistant, to Video Editor, Cinematographer, Motion Graphic Designer all the way to Director or Producer. Or just a kick-ass Freelancer Generalist.

Regardless of the specific career path you choose, the core multimedia storytelling skills we focus on provide a solid base for growth. We explore various forms of storytelling from advertising, to documentary, and creative using Human Centered Design as our process.

Technical skills you will learn:
  • Camera and Lighting
  • Video Editing
  • Motion Graphics
  • Directing & Producing
  • Basic Sound + Mixing
  • Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, Illustrator
Professional skills you will learn:
  •  Time Management
  •  Brief Fulfillment
  •  Production Management
  •  Agile
  • Begin your story with Umuzi.


Talent is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels
David Ogilvy

Copy may be writing, but copywriting isn’t about words. It’s about playing with ideas. Whether it’s the instructions for a sex toy or the inauguration speech for a president, copywriters create meaning, deliver a message, and call an audience to action.

Writing seems like a solitary pursuit. It isn’t here. At Umuzi, you’ll learn to work in a team, often with a designer, sometimes a strategist, and always with your target audience top of mind. You’ll use empathy to understand the audience you’re trying to reach, define their problems, come up with ideas, prototype, and test them, using our Human Centred Design process.

Where to next? Many of our alumni turn to advertising, working for top agencies and brands, en route to becoming Creative Directors. Others move into the world of content creation, writing for online publications or themselves. Imagine where this career could take you. Now write your story.



You cannot predict the future, but you can create it.
Peter Drucker

The world and is becoming more complicated and interconnected. To thrive, every organization needs to be more strategic and more human-centered. In our strategy department, we develop business analysts with a focus on digital strategy and user experience design.

To thrive, every organization needs to be more strategic and more human-centered. In our strategy department, we develop business analysts with a focus on digital strategy and user experience design.

We practice a process-driven approach based on Human-Centred Design and Agile principles. We are data-driven, using tools like Google Analytics to better understand users and their behavior. We’re rigorous, digging below the surface to understand businesses and supply chains. We’re scientific: we develop

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.

Ofentse Mwase is a filmmaker who grew up in the great city of Rustenburg in the North West Province, and now resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ofentse’s infatuation with film and cameras started in 2005 and led to his enrolment at AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) to study film and cinematography. Ofentse graduated with an Honours Degree in Cinematography in 2011.

Ofentse was voted AFDA Best Cinematographer of 2010 for this work on the Short film IGOLIDE, shot on 16mm Kodak film. Further accolades include a nomination for AFDA Best Cinematography for his work on the short film “The Hajji” shot in in 2011.Thato, a Sterkinekor commercial shot in 2011 on 35mm Kodak Film by Ofentse was also nominated for the prestigious Loerie Award and went on to win a Silver Loerie in the Student Commercials category.

Greatest Achievement thus far as a Music Video director was winning Music Video of the Year in the 2017 South African Music Awards (SAMA) for his video for Miss Pru titled Ameni.

With over 9 years experience in Film, Commercials and Music Videos, Ofentse is set to be one to look out for in the South African film industry as he continues to be involved in great projects for TV and Commercials.

Here are Ofentse’s achievements thus far:


  • Best Film: ISAZELA (2009 Joburg Arts Festival)
  • Best Cinematographer: IGOLIDE (AFDA 2010 Awards)
  • Nominated for Best Cinematography: The Hajji (AFDA 2011 Awards)
  • Best Film: The Hajji (AFDA 2011 Awards)
  • Best Commercial: Thato (AFDA 2011 Awards)
  • Silver Loerie: Thato (Loerie Awards 2012)
  • Official Selection: The Hajji (Durban International Film Festival 2013)
  • Best Music Video: Lundi – Noma Sekutheni Na (Crown Gospel Awards 2014)
  • Best Music Video: Roll Up – Emtee (Metro FM Awards 2016)
  • Best Music Video: Miss Pru – Ameni (SAHHA 2016)
  • Music Video of the Year: Miss Pru – Ameni (SAMA 2017)
  • Best Short Film: Durban International Film Festival 2017 – The Hangman
  • Best Short Film: Zanzibar International Film Festival 2017 – The Hangman
  • Sembene Ousman Award of Excellence: Zanzibar International Film Festival 2017 – The Hangman

Ofentse Mwase is Umuzi’s ‘Creative Crush’ today – we are celebrating the work that goes beyond the hype. Couldn’t think about anyone else than Uncle Scrooch. He is changing the visual game in South Africa and he doesn’t seem to be stopping soon. Well done Ofentse for all your achievements, you are an amazing inspiration to the future of this country. To see the incredible work of Ofentse Mwase follow him here —-> FacebookTwitterInstagramVimeoYoutube.

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.



After a month hiatus, we're back at 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein to bring you yet another out-of-the-world, banging exhibition as part of this August's First Thursdays cultural activities. Now taking place every two months, we've been cooking up an experiential exhibition, titled Square 1, that brings together childhood nostalgia and storytelling. And because unsettling, challenging and doing things differently is the Umuzi way, this is no conventional wine swirling, wall staring affair ... you get be part of the exhibition too. Square 1 brings into practice Umuzi's Theory of Change which is concerned with improving and providing access to innovative education and creative careers, challenging and changing the current narrative and encouraging shared growth through cultural exchanges and alternative narratives.
Encouraging storytelling and sharing through play, we're breaking down, building, creating and doing any and everything imaginable in order to facilitate a space that encourages the expression and sharing of personal anecdotes through the use of building blocks. Divided into three spaces for exploration, creating and sharing, in addition to exhibiting stories and sculptures created in the studio by our recruits, we will have an allocated space where attendees can create and share their own stories and sculptures as part of the exhibition.
Beyond experimenting with a new medium to facilitate the creation and sharing of stories, Square 1 reinforces Umuzi's principles of making not just the creative industry but creative outputs and experiences such as exhibitions accessible as well as fostering emotional intelligence and empathy through creativity. So come join the fun as we build and share through play for one night only. Doors open at 6 PM till 9 PM / 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein / 3 August 2017

It’s a new month and what better way to keep the winter blues at bay than to party them away? We’ve put together a list of things to do and see from First Thursday happenings to vinyl sessions and farewell parties, this is the best of Jozi’s nightlife this week.

Thursday 6 July 2017: 

#Film Screening
Mixed Spaces, Keleketla! Library.
Address: 6 Verwey Street Troyeville, Johannesburg

On Thursday 6 July, multidisciplinary visual story-teller and music collector Zara Juluis screens her documentary film, Mixed Spaces at the Keleketla! Library located at King Kong, Troyville.
In conversations with various middle-class young adults  who identify as mixed race, Mixed Spaces takes a look at their experiences and how they navigate ”Rainbow nation” South Africa. Formed from focus groups in her apartment while still living in Cape Town, Mixed Spaces interrogates the restrictions of racial categories in South Africa and how mixed race people defines themselves in a post-apartheid South Africa that obsessed with labels of black and white.

Doors open at 6:30pm and screening starts at 8pm. Following discussions the night will be rounded off with soulful tunes by Mma Tseleng and Zara.


Moses Tladi (1903-1959), Wits Arts Museum (WAM), Braamfontiein
WAM, corner of Bertha (ext. of Jan Smuts Ave) and Jorissen Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

The Wits Arts Museum presents works of Moses Tladi produced from 1903 till 1959. Previously on show at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Wits Arts Museum offers Joburgers the opportunity to view and experience the work of one South Africa’s lesser known landscape artist.

Born in the Limpopo village of Ga- Phaahla, Tladi was the first black artist to exhibit at the South African National Gallery in 1931 and the first Black artist to exhibit at the now Johannesburg Art Gallery in 1939.


Friday 7 July 2017:

DJ Slovo Vinyl Session, The Orbit Jazz Club
81 De Korte St, Braamfontein

Kicking off an exciting addition to Johannesburg’s nightlife and a welcome addition to the otherwise traditional jazz club, The Orbit presents their inaugural vinyl sessions this Friday, 7 July.

Featuring award winning filmmaker Bro Slovo aka Dylan Valley, the first Vinyl sessions promises an inclusive mix of sounds from hip hop, funk and groove jazz. Preceded by a live performance from GP Riot upstairs at 20h30, the Vinyl Sessions take place on the lower entry level of The Orbit from 23h30 at a cost of R50.


Jojo Abot Farewell, Kitchener’s Carvery Bar
71 Juta St, Braamfontein

After a whirlwind tour of performances, photoshoots, impromptu gigs, collaborations and exploring, Ghanaian born musician and enchantress Jojo Abot bids Jozi farewell in an epic send off this Friday at Kitchnere’s.

Featuring live performances from Jojo and Mthwakazi, party goers can also look forward to DJ sets by bass queen DJ Doowap and DJ Okapi among others. Event is free before 21:30



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


Countering the exclusivity and inaccessibility of art, First Thursdays is a free cultural exploration of art galleries, live music events and reclamation of the city. Last night academy recruits, alumni and community members infiltrated Braamfontein to attend Umuzi’s very first pop up exhibition at the popular First Thursdays art walks.



Curated by american based photographer Moyo Oyelola and Umuzi creative directors Nthabiseng Lethoko and Odendaal Esterhuyse, the thought provoking exhibition presented an opportunity for new and old Umuzi community  members to come together over a glass of wine and thought provoking art.

Forming part of a host of exhibitions and activities for the first First Thursday of the year, Umuzi recruits exhibited a series of multimedia installations and artworks around the themes of spiritual deprivation, gentrification and addiction.




Following a successful showcase in December, the second showing of Lost in the World boasted a surprise performance by writer, multimedia recruit and all round creative Ramoloti Kganakga. Dressed as a vagabond, Kganaka tackled issues of gentrification and other forms of systematic oppression in a commanding spoken word piece. Caught off guard, audience members were challenged to interrogate their own prejudice towards marginalised people.

Despite a downpour of rain,the night was a great success that saw new and old community members network, share ideas and socialise in the name of art.

We would like to thank  Southpoint Central for helping us host a spectacular first First Thursday exhibition and look forward to working together and making creativity more accessible.