Black people inspire my work, Cape Town-born illustrator and graphic designer Thandiwe Tshabalala says. Her work is filled with illustrations of brown faces and culturally rich emblems, while tackling topical issues such as racism, poverty and misogny.
In late 2014, Tshabalala caused a stir on social media when her graphic, titled Strapped South African Black Well Organised Woman Essentials, went viral. “The truth of the matter is, poverty is still a major issue in this country, let alone the whole continent of Africa.” And it is this truth-telling approach that highlights Tshabalala’s illustrations, as they focus on a South African and African narrative.
Irma van Rooyen
Kaross is an embroidery initiative started in 1989 with five Shangaan embroiderers and Irma van Rooyen, a visual artist, as creative director.
Kaross has become the voice of 700+ Shangaan people and their communities in the Letsitele and Giyani areas of the Limpopo Province, re-writing a culture by exploring its heritage and re-applying it to modern, marketable products and artworks. Kaross creates opportunities for mainly rural women to make a living by being creative within the realm of their own tradition and background. A strengthened cultural awareness has followed the growth of Kaross and has formed the basis of many Shangaan people's perception of themselves within the context of South Africa and the rest of the world.
Natalie du Toit
Natalie du Toit grew up between South Africa and Australia and says it provided her with a fascination of indigenous cultures and love of bold pattern, colour and form. I¹m drawn to the energy, the diversity, and the opportunity South Africa offers.
In her work she explores the synthesis between craft and design, form and function, ethnic and contemporary and seek to create a unified story through combinations of varying materials and crafting methods. After being Creative Director for an interior manufacturing company Natalie founded her own brand. She says it has been exhilarating, but also hard work, and that she had to overcome a lot of hurdles in the journey of becoming an entrepreneur and a designer.