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”something’s missing”\ pen on fabriano\ 21x21cm\ 2014\ Ke Neil We | | |



Every creator can associate themselves with the key processes and characteristics of a diamond. It’s much of a coincidence that South Africa is one of the preferred sources of diamonds making it one of the world’s leading diamond producers. Look at yourself and then look at a diamond; realise that pressure will test every artist who wants to be recognised and shine- that they will feel the intense heat at several moments in their lives while honing their skills…away from the public eye. This issue is dedicated to all the diamonds in Kreative Kulture and shines its light on a handful of local artists who are shaping the scene. Remember that no two diamonds are alike,:“How deep a diamond is cut,

determines how it reflects light, and consequently how much it sparkles”. “Keep your depth and wear your crown with pride.” – Lethabo Ngakane, Kaffein Magazine founder.





Zoe Hawkins WRITER Pumla Mtongana WRITER Andrea Teagle WRITER Tseliso Monaheng PHOTOGRAPHER Karen Byera Ijumba WRITER Japan WRITER Mbali Dhlamini FINE ARTS CURATOR Thulani Msiza COVER ART

Lethabo Ngakane EDITOR IN CHIEF

@lambisking Blogger | Designer in pursuit of experience and wisdom Good food, good music and good women

Boipelo Seswane COPY EDITOR

@bopzybee Synapses & Sinew | Lover of Pre-Raphaelite paintings |‘The Girl With Dirty Feet’ | Writing | Theatre | Music | Film | Fixed Nomad

Okuhle Magcaba EDITOR

father | photographer | videographer content producer | content manager writer | thinker | journalist | art lover creative | can design | Human Inc.

Nomaswazi Shabalala ASSISTANT EDITOR @vanilla_venom Simple & bewitching




The birth of a new myth | Conversations with members of The Brother Moves On

CONTENT 6. Drug Cartel | A crack down on the local gaming industry 8. Sky high and blazin’ | Duncan Bell, Developer of Blazin’ Aces 18. South Africa’s most wanted gamers | Lazygamer’s list of indie developers 24. Snailboy | Meet the team behind the mobile game Snailboy


32 . The sounds of resistance A look at musicians that are making waves while resisting the current 34. Spark it up | Interview with Grassy Spark 38. Jozi Unsigned | Johannesburg’s unsigned musicians 48. Words | A section that focuses on opinion pieces and typography 50. Colonial Bastards | Osmond Tshuma’s historical font

54. Art subcultures in South Africa. Are they relevant? Shakira Qwabe 55. The Liberation of the Individual | Andrea Teagle 56. Cultivation of a creative consciousness | Words By: Karen Byera Ijumba 58. Fine Arts | A section that looks at emerging artists 60. Nompumelelo Ngoma | painter 64. Mack Magagane | Photography 68. Palesa Litha | Jewellery design

The character behind the character Jarred Lunt, game art designer


A Fine Start | a conversation with Loyiso Mkize

70. Cool Sh*t | Gadgets & Novelties

Layout Design and Art Direction KAFFEIN DESIGN & PUBLISHING (PTY)LTD.



The Drug


Welcome to the underground world of digital organizations that have a sole purpose of developing addictive games and smuggling them to your fingertips. We have seeked & exposed these revered local indie developers that are turning regular joes into die-hard fiends.

Line Work: Dawid Strauss Colour: Jarred Lunt





Sky high &blazin’


Duncan Bell

We spent a crisp Saturday afternoon at a restaurant in Joburg discussing coding and most importantly his latest game Blazin’ Aces.

Words By: Lethabo Ngakane



The Blazin’ Aces stand at rAge Expo 2013

“I WAS BUMPED UP INTO AN ADVANCED CLASS WHERE I LEARNT VISUAL BASICS.” Where did you grow up? Well I grew up in this area (Jo’burg), it has always been my home. How did your growing up in Johannesburg steer you towards game development? There wasn’t anything special, in terms of my growing up, that steered me towards game development besides the fact that I had an interest in computers. As time went on I played games and got interested in how they are put together. It’s such an interesting medium because there are so many disciplines

involved in making a game including artists, the story, coders and that collaborative effort is what got me. Which software did you start developing with? I used to attend Futurekids, which had a computer course for kids and I was bumped up into an advanced class where I learnt visual basics. In high school I learnt Turbo Pascal and later on I found a software called GameMaker, which was created by a guy called Mark Overmars, it was created to teach kids how to make games or rather how to learn programming by making games. The programme is awesome because it is based on a drag and drop setup and thus has a very graphical user interface for creatives like me who visualise first. Although a lot of people are starting to use it because it is a lot easier to use to make games, it’s not seen


as a proper game development tool. Do you feel that it is fair for game developers to say that one is not a “real” game developer if they are using these programs? Ag it’s a much of a muchness, at the end of the day the final product is what will determine if you are successful or not. There is a community called MakeGamesSA which I’m a part of and it’s all about making games: at the end of the day whether you build the best engine or not it doesn’t matter, as long as it is fun, that’s all we want as developers. Some make games using software like GameMaker, as I mentioned, and Unity. They are simple and easy to understand and we can make prototypes with them; they might look as ugly as hell but they are fun to play.


Shoot and crash through the Blazin’ Aces North Pole, Sahara and Farm levels What projects have you worked on aside from Blazin’ Aces? I interned at Luma and worked on a couple of stuff to learn more about developing because at that time I didn’t know if I would enjoy doing it. People think that doing their hobby for a living is a dream but it can easily become a nightmare so most people do it as a hobby. What inspires you to start making games? I find games to be such a cool medium because you are fully engaged when playing a game, so to me it’s the ultimate story telling medium because your decisions determine the outcome of each game.


There’s a lot of emotion involved, do you consider what action evokes what emotion? There’s a psychological element to it. It’s a difficult curve to get right, you can’t make it too easy or too difficult. The question is how you keep players engaged because if it’s too easy people give up because it’ll be boring and if it’s too difficult people give up all the same. That’s why I go back to the prototype so you can get to the gist of the game, creating something enjoyable and fun. There’s been a lot of integration between games and brands. Are you applying your development skills to develop these type of interactive games? It’s very difficult at the moment because we are always a little bit behind. Brands are also a bit cautious when it comes to engaging and investing in GAMING

such things. There aren’t many companies that sponsor game development and when they do, they want to direct the process.





Which brings me to my next question: do you think that there are enough such platforms where developers can meet and exchange information or do you think we could do with more? It’s difficult to say because in South Africa it’s such a new concept as a career option. What sucks is that a lot of colleges are offering it as a course and people believe that they are guaranteed jobs by the end of their course: so what MakeGamesSA does by working with people who want to do it for a living but did not study in that field, is a really good initiative. Do you find people who want to or specialise in marketing games? The best way to market games is online so you really need to know the right people in the industry to spread the word. It boils down to using social

media for marketing, like if you have a blogger tracking your progress, it gives it credibility because people can go back and see that it’s a really good and tangible product, so there’s a great amount of marketing via self-promotion and word-ofmouth. What is the one thing that the general public should understand about coding? That it’s difficult: it’s why I chose to stick with GameMaker. I don’t really need to understand what the code is telling the machine to be able to do my work and get something playable. Is the response growing in terms of local indie companies? Yes, definitely. Free Lives have created a simple yet fun game called Broforce. There is also another company called QCF Design that created Desktop Dungeons; it’s aimed at being


played during coffee breaks, it takes 15 minutes to play. How do you feel about developers who go overseas to apply their trade? Most of the guys I know I have stayed in the country because everyone can work from here and freelance for international clients. Is the indie market conducive to the growth of the industry? It depends on the individual whether you want to work for a big company or small companies. But most developers would like to make their own games in any case as opposed to working for other people.




Character Behind The Character

Jarred Lunt is a game art designer with a twisted eye that is guranteed to have you trippin’ at every detail

Words By: Lethabo Ngakane



Where did you grow up and how did you ended up developing games? I grew up all over Kwa-ZuluNatal: Melmoth, Vryheid, but mostly in Durban. I’ve always drawn and had a great interest in computer graphics, but my career in game development only started later in my life. I originally wanted to do computer special effects for movies. I remember watching a documentary on Jurassic Park when I was a kid; I saw their fancy rendering computers and some wireframes of the dinosaurs and knew that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. In high school I started focusing less on CG and started making games with friends. Having only one artist and one programmer forces you to become a jack of all trades; that’s what started me on this path of being an indie game artist. How did you land a job at Free Lives?



I have always been involved in the SA gaming community doing odd jobs here and there. I did some work on a game called Battlemass about 2 years ago and Leslie Young (the guy who was running the project) told me about this job; I applied, started speaking to Evan and got the job! I threw my stuff into the back of my car, ended my life in Durban and drove to Cape Town!



Once the design is set there is quite a big pipeline for production. Concepts for assets will usually go off to a 3D modeller/sculptor, then to a texture artist.

Personal Work

“I LIKE CHARACTERS THAT I CAN FEEL SORRY FOR.” What is the hardest part of your job as a game art designer? Oh gosh. Aside from the technical aspect of it, I would probably say the hardest part about being a game artist is trying to keep a healthy and having a social life. The working hours are other- worldly so you spend a lot of time in front of your PC at 4am. How would you describe your personal style in game art design? I like vibrant colours and simple, readable details! My personal work is also a bit quirky. I like characters that I can feel sorry for.

What is the creative process within game developing?

After the asset is completed it will then go off to a rigger who will set up all the armatures for an animator to be able to make the thing move around, and then it gets implemented into the game. That’s the stage at which you find out if it works or not and can go back and make any necessary changes.

Hmm, I can only talk about the the creative process with in game art. Game development is a huge field including music, game design, coding, and lots of other professions. The creative process starts with brainstorming an idea. Then you gather references: you can’t design something if you don’t understand it. You then create a concept of the idea. You usually create a few variations of the concept and then choose the best design to go forward with. This works with anything. Designs for a character are more like solutions to problem and the more designs you have, the better you will be at being able to solve how that thing looks, how it moves and animates, etc. Super Friendship Arcade



Broforce is notably your most popular work thus far, please take us through how the idea came about and how you came up with the crazy array of characters? The initial prototype for the game was birthed at Ludum Dare over the period of a weekend. As far as I can recall it placed first in Fun for the Jam and seventh overall for the Jam session. All of the characters are sincere parodies of their movie counterparts. Bro Dredd is a parody of Judge Dredd, Rambro is a parody of Rambo, etc.


BroForce Screen Shot

which is amazing.

BroForce Screen Shot

What were the highlights of this classically addictive 2D game? Theres been a few things, but showcasing the game at some big festivals like E3 was amazing. We also got asked to do a broforce tie in for the Expendables 3 movie which we just finished. That was awesome!

BroForce Screen Shot The game is enjoying success across the globe, was it a surprise? I think the scale of the success was a surprise. We’ have had some big names looking at us,


It was always going to be a safe game to develop though, we knew it was a good idea. I mean explosions, musclemen shooting things, it’s very easy to sell.


What does this success mean for local game development? Well hopefully more people will see that making games in South Africa is a viable and profitable career. I also hope more people will see that making indie games is more profitable for people making games in South Africa. It’s quite hard getting big international publishers involved, so being independent and making small games with small teams is really the way to go. What are the most memorable milestones that you have achieved within your industry? Getting the opportunity to work and grow as an artist at Free Lives has really been the highlight of my career. I’m improving every day as an artist and it’s really addictive. How do they contribute to the growth of your work? Well, being able to draw every day for cool projects really speeds up your growth as an artist considerably. What are the basics that anyone out there would need to create work as a game artist? Well, my personal opinion is that it doesn’t matter where you go in game art, you need to be able to draw, and that doesn’t happen overnight. You need to draw, every day. You need to draw for the sake of drawing and not wait for some


magical inspiration to come along and get you excited. After a year you will notice HUGE improvements. You also need to obviously know how games work. If you want to do 3D you need to know how to model and texture something. You need to know what limitations games put on art. The sooner you know the boundaries of the art form the sooner you can start being creative. Knowing you tools is important, but I would stress knowing the basics more. You don’t need to use tons of different tools to be able to make good art. Another very important thing is you need to learn to be able to take criticism. If you take art up professionally it’s not the same as drawing a picture for your mom! There will be changes, you will make bad art, and you will have to throw work away. The sooner you can detach yourself from your work the sooner you can start growing as an artist. It’s very important. How many groupies has your game art design prowess thrown at you this year? HAHA! A few students! What is the most common way that game developers market their products seeing as there is usually a very small or no budget? At the moment, a popular way to get your game/s discovered is via YouTube.


There is a huge community of people who make videos of themselves playing games with commentary, and an even bigger community of people who watch these videos. Some small popular games that have found great success doing this lately are Slender Man and Surgeon Simulator 2013. We have also had a lot of success on YouTube. It’s also super motivating to actually see people playing your game and having fun. It’s why we do this.



Follow us on twitter: @kaffeinmagazine




south Africa’s

MOst wanted

developers The problem with indies (internationally as well, not just locally) is that they’re hard to find. Many indie developers are one-man teams, or have limited PR ability. Often, fantastic games can fall through the cracks due to lack of promotion. So, I present you with an alphabetical list of South African developers.

Words By: Zoe Hawkins





Chris Bischoff of the Brotherhood Games seems to have almost single handedly pushed his game, Stasis, through the Kickstarter and Greenlight process. Based in Joburg, you can follow his progress through the Stasis webiste, or follow on twitter. DECIDUOUS GAMES




Celestial Games has been around for years, based in Joburg. They initially came onto the indie scene with Toxic Bunny, a game they have recently given an HD revamp. You can check out their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on twitter for more details on current projects.

Dark Faction Games is a small indie based in Kimberley. They are currently working on an Android project – Dark Project. Their website/blog is updated every few weeks, or you can find them on Facebook or twitter. GIANT BOX GAMES


Deciduous Games is a one-man studio from Richard Pieterse in Cape Town. Pieterse has recently started working at Free Lives, but that hasn’t stopped him from releasing his bizarrely fascinating game, Wang Commander. You can follow his blog, or find him on twitter.

Free Lives is based in Cape Town and they have developed Broforce. Broforce has been Greenlit on Steam and makes all of us a little too giddy. You can find Free Lives online through their website, Facebook or twitter.


Giant Box Games is a two man team consisting of Programmer/ Designer Dominic Obojkovits and Artist/Designer David Nickerson. Obojkovits is the local developer, while Nickerson hails from Canada. Together, they have made the awesome Pixel Boy, which is currently looking for Greenlight support, so you better go vote. You can find more details on their website, Facebook and twitter.




Lighthouse Games Studio is a local indie focused on making Xbox 360 and mobile games. I actually think their Greed City game sounds genius – it’s like Monopoly but uses your real world check-ins to help you become a property tycoon. You can check out their website, Facebook and twitter.



Proudly Capetonian, Manikin Games is best known for developing Silhouette, a two player, turn-based game about killing your friend. You can check out their website, or find them on twitter. POLYMORPH


QCF Design is an award winning development studio based in Cape Town. The alpha for their game Desktop Dungeon won an IGF award at GDC in 2011; the guys have since been taking the game through Beta towards its release. We are hoping to see the final version of the game any day now. You can find QCF on their website – they also have an official twitter account, but it’s better to follow the developers themselves. RED DOT LAB

A one man studio from Cape Town, Made with Monster Love have made games such as Toward the Light and Cadence. You can find Peter at his funky blog, The Funtastic, his official website or his twitter.

Technically,Polymorph isn’t an indie game studio- it’s an app studio. Although their main focus is mobile development, they have created an iOS functional game Fleet of One, so I suppose that makes them indie developers on some or other level.


With a playable demo debuted at rAge, Red Dot Lab is breaking out on the indie scene. Their game, Blazin’ Aces has been released for IOS, Android and windows phone.




Retro Epic is an indie development studio that also makes games and prototypes for third parties. Their latest game, A Day in the Woods, was a big hit at rAge. RUNESTORM

Although they are mostly focused on Rooks Keep, I’m seriously interested in Viscera Cleanup Detail from RuneStorm. With a new tie-in with Shadow Warrior, these guys are making me laugh and creating cool games. You can check them out online through their website, twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


These guys are behind the insanely difficult and fun zX – Hyperblast. In fact, zX is currently going for Steam Greenlight and needs your support – go vote!


The studio behind System Crash, Rogue Moon Studios is only available on their website and twitter. SIJO STUDIOS


South African team Screwy Lightbulb has built the game The Maker’s Eden and are looking to get it Greenlit. You can get more info on this firstperson slideshow style point and click game by checking out their website, Facebook or twitter


A digital media company based in Cape Town, SIJO studios makes games and apps. They are best known for Khumba The Game.You can check them out on DeviantArt, Pinterest, Facebook and twitter.





Hailing from Cape Town, Tasty Poison games is a mobile game development house with a range of games including Dig! and Pocket RPG. You can find them on their website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Team Devil, based in Cape Town, is the team behind Xbox Live indie game Ninja Crash. Unfortunately, the XBLIG isn’t available in SA, so we can’t show them support by downloading the game. However, be sure to check out their website and follow them on twitter and Facebook for news and updates.




Joburg local Steven Tu is making waves in the indie scene. His game, Bear Chuck, was a big hit at rAge, and he was recently featured on Xbox South Africa’s indie podcast. You can find him on his website, Facebook and twitter.






Thoopid is a Cape Town based indie game development agency. This indie was founded in January 2013 by a group of avid gamers who have proved unstoppable by bringing you the stickiest habit the stickiest habit on mobile: Snailboy!

Illustration By: Silas Lekgoathi





keep the team focused on the goal? We started the team with two guys fresh out of college who were passionate about gaming and excited to be involved in creating something completely original.

RW Liebenberg: Lead Developer How did the idea to develop Snailboy come about? The Thoopid team is made up of a mix of gamers with respective backgrounds in design, development, digital marketing and emerging media. We decided to stop talking about these awesome game ideas and start making them. We had a few game concepts and we were pretty set with the slingshot gaming mechanism, it was a proven mechanic that we could improve upon to create an epic game, but the tough part was getting the character right. Grumpy cats and cuddly dogs were successful instagram posts but we needed an original character that was as fresh and cheeky as Thoopid. With a stroke of genius, we came up with a snail and what could be more tragic than a snail that has lost its shell? It seems like it was a hectic game to make, how did you

As we expanded the team we made sure that we, as team members, shared the same quirkiness and drive for gaming. Choosing the right people who are self-motivated, able to collaborate in a team and willing to go that extra mile has kept us moving forward and focused as a team.

“WE WERE PRETTY SET WITH THE SLINGSHOT GAMING MECHANISM.” What was the most difficult aspect of the game to develop? We have huge dreams for games and Snailboy, and we want to push mobile games to their limit, but the most difficult aspect of mobile game development are the limits we experienced. Achieving Snailboy’s graphics significantly pushes up the file size of a game, therefore, we really had to be strategic in the way we designed the game GAMING

and built levels. Beyond game development, we have learnt a huge amount about app store submission and the subtle differences and difficulties about preparing and marketing your app across different app stores. Indie game developers have to strategically choose which app store is the best for them and their game/s. It took you an hour to develop “Tap The Coin”, how many hours do you think you put into making Snailboy? Snailboy was made by a team of five and took an intense 6 months to develop; nonstop creativity and countless cups of coffee; 5 days a week, 9 hours a day. We put all of our creativity and skill sets into each game to develop something awesome and with each game; we gain more knowledge and build better processes for new games. Will we be seeing a Snailboy 2, and if so what should the gamer expect? We are currently working on a sequel for Snailboy and we are taking him on a completely new adventure to explore new depths. When we get closer to release, we will fill you in on more details. We plan to make the levels bigger, the puzzles more epic and amp up the overall slimy experience.


Amanda Presley: Marketing Manager How did you get into marketing? My studies focused on Political Science and Sociology, which is not directly involved in marketing, but my studies have given me a solid base of knowledge and adaptability to work in various industries. I gained some marketing experience while teaching in Korea and built up some experience in public relations. After travelling and living overseas, I realised that my experience in Korea, learning about the gaming culture and the rapid uptake in tech, helped me land in the mobile game marketing space. What does being a Marketing Manager in an indie game developing company entail? As a Marketing Manager at Thoopid, I handle everything outside the scope of coding or physically designing


games. My main goal is to overcome one of the biggest challenges in the mobile game development industry, discoverability. With over 1 million apps on the iTunes App Store, it is pivotal that I strategise and execute a marketing strategy that will allow our games to stand out from the rest and land in the top charts. How did your interest in working in the gaming industry come about? After living in Korea for three years and experiencing the rapid expansion in smart phones and tablets, I experienced the social culture of mobile gaming. Teens and adults alike gathered at lunch breaks to compare their high scores on the new trending mobile games. It was part of daily conversation to ask which games you were playing; from then on I have been hooked to mobile games. What was the strategy behind getting Snailboy into the hands of the consumer? We focused our efforts on creating a bold character with an even more adventurous tale that would charm people in any age group and visually stun the gaming community. When we had reached the final stages of Snailboy, we began marketing Snailboy


on social media to build a fan base before launching the game, and to build up anticipation for the game. The majority of our budget was invested in the creation of Snailboy and we used what was leftover for marketing, which was very little. We relied heavily on local South African media and international game reviewers, we also communicated continually with our fan base. When we announced the release of Snailboy our fan base instantly started downloading the game. Within the first two weeks, Snailboy was ranked in the top 20 best new games internationally. What were the biggest challenges in getting Snailboy to where it is in the market? As an indie development company it is much harder to maintain the discoverability of your app in the international gaming community. Since we had a limited marketing budget, we had to think outside the box to create original marketing material and sincerely engage with the international and local gaming community to make our presence as a gaming studio known.



that stood out for me. It has been the best decision I could have made. My parents were supportive; since they were artists themselves, and were glad I was going into something I was passionate about. You are 22 and already part of such a huge game, how does it feel?

Michael Rauwerdink : 3D Artist When did you develop an When did you develop an interest in 3D art and how did your parents react to it?

I’ve always loved 3D animated movies. The end of high school was fast approaching and I had no idea what I was going to do once I graduated. Then one day I unexpectedly remembered doing 2D animations at the beginning of high school and thought hey, let’s see what kind of animation schools Cape Town has to offer. The Animation School in Woodstock was the first result

It’s difficult to describe! I often forget that I started working on this game straight out of college. I am truly lucky to be a part of it. It is always an awesome feeling when I see people talking or writing about Snailboy and knowing that I helped create the game.

What was your greatest moment during the making of Snailboy? Definitely when we finally released it to the App Store and people started downloading, rating and reviewing it. It was a mixture of accomplishment, relief, and excitement all in one. I’m sure it’s going to be the same for every game we make.


How would you describe the local indie game developing industry? The local indie game industry is small, but it exists. It’s so small in fact that I never knew anything about it until I actually became a part of it. It is growing quickly and it’s full of awesome and passionate people. MakeGamesSA is the hub of the local gaming community and they have done a great job in building an indie gaming community. What is the one lesson you can take away from making this game?

Planning, planning, and planning. Proper organisation and workflow charts will make your life so much easier and help when we need to make major changes later in production. For our future games, we are going to spend a lot more time planning and fleshing out details before we dive into actually developing a game.



How did you get involved with this game? At the end of my final year of my studies I was approached by two of the founders of Thoopid. They pitched the idea and vision they had to me and I was sold instantly :) What was your vision concerning this particular project?

Luqman Achmat: Lead 3D Artist Can you briefly explain to us your duties/role as a lead 3D artist?

I really wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible for mobile games. I was tired of games that claimed to be something, but never delivered, and so I really wanted to make a game that looked as good as it said it did.

I am a generalist at Thoopid,, and I get involved in pretty much everything, but my main role as Lead is to direct the team in the most effective way with regards to the visual aspects of the creation process. I manage workflows and deadlines, decide the best way to create whatever it is we need to create in the most efficient amount of time, and make sure that as a whole we are being effective and productive.


What makes your approach different from other 3D artists in our local gaming industry? Games have never looked as good as movies. I think our approach differs in a sense that we brought the techniques and methods used traditionally in film and used it in our game. What other fields would you like to explore with regards to your craft? I would love to specialise in characters, from concept to polish, and create more of my own CG art. Perhaps the film industry has something interesting to teach me.



been a part of on a commercial level, this was amplified even more. What are the day-to-day challenges that you face in the local gaming industry? Many people are unaware that a local South African gaming industry exists and even more surprised to hear how it is continuing to grow and evolve.

Jade Dowrie: 3D Artist

“MANY PEOPLE ARE UNAWARE THAT A LOCAL SOUTH AFRICAN GAMING INDUSTRY EXISTS” What was the most frustrating moment in making Snailboy? There were multiple moments where I had to pull myself back and avoid constantly adjusting or tweaking work that I’d already completed. I have a tendency to feel as if there’s always room for improvement and with Snailboy being the first project that I’ve

I find it tough telling the average person what my daily job entails and the challenges we face as an indie company because many are so far removed from the gaming industry as a whole. Mobile game development is not your conventional 9 to 5 job; it’s much better! Trying to convey the concept that we spend way more time working to create awesome games than we spend playing them is quite a daunting task. How did you join Thoopid? I graduated from college and started the search for an internship at a company that I thought would provide me with more than adequate experience in the 3D industry. I found the challenge of working at an indie mobile games company intriguing, and over a year later, it’s still living up to that perception. How has the experience changed your life?


The thought of making games for a living had never crossed my mind. Now that I am in the gaming space, utilising my 3D knowledge, it has broadened my thinking and I am discovering how versatile this industry is becoming. It’s so encouraging and rewarding to recognise how easily different forms of creativity can blend with one another. The gaming industry has been stereotyped as a male dominated space, but being in it I see more women get involved in gaming. I feel we are breaking down the ‘typical gamer’ stereotypes and the gaming the industry is becoming far more diverse. There are so many unique career opportunities out there to explore for men and women, but we often overlook it due to personal restrictions, but Thoopid has taught me that if there’s a passion there’s no reason not to pursue it. What software did you use to get your work done? I’ve used Mudbox specifically for texturing and Photoshop for any necessary editing plus a ton of other programs that we use to achieve that top-notch quality we are always aiming for.



They have the right idea when it comes to producing fine quality games that are impressive to both local and international gamers. I want to be part of that, and that is why I am here. Plans for the future?

Bianca Roux & Pieter Louw: 3D Interns What role did you play in putting this masterpiece together? I joined the team after the release of Snailboy - An Epic Adventure. Despite not being involved in the development process, it was inspiring to see what people who are my age, were achieving so early in their careers. Did you get some hands on experience from this project? Working at Thoopid, I have gained a great amount of experience working under the Snailboy team. I have gained valuable industry experience and gaming knowledge. It is a great learning curve being a 3D artist intern, as you tend to be thrown into the deep end. It has also helped me streamline

my 2D and 3D workflow that they have learnt from Snailboy. How is the culture at Thoopid? It’s excellent. Thoopid is made up of a group of hard working and passion driven people. The atmosphere at work is friendly and welcoming. The development process of games and deadlines however, are taken most seriously. There is such a high regard for the responsibility we have towards the local industry. We love to share our ideas on new games and gadgets that are coming out, but work comes first. How do you want to bring about an impact in the local gaming scene? It is a great privilege to be working at an up and coming gaming company like Thoopid.


My plans for the near future would definitely be to stick to the gaming industry, and gain as much knowledge as I can in order to become an experienced and well-rounded 3D artist. To be part of a local gaming company that is recognised internationally is what dreams are made of.






of resistance Let’s get straight to the matter at hand, the life juice that is music.



Photography: Tseliso Monaheng



UP SPARK IT Grassy Spark is a five-piece nouveau reggae band.The group from the melting pot of Cape Town has formed a sound that is both electric and distinct.

Words By: Nomaswazi Shabalala



Photography:Imraan Christian What is it like growing up in South Africa as the first generation into its transition? It is inspiring because of the increased amount of national pride. We are at an artistic advantage because of the opportunity to mix with other cultures and their musicality. We are lucky to be able to speak freely! Do any of your parents have a musical background? Only two of the band members come from musical families! What inspired you guys to come together as a collective and start the band? Half of the band had been playing heavy metal music throughout their childhood. These members decided to start a completely different musical outfit because of their new love for reggae music. From this spark came the sevenmember band. You have a diverse mix of sounds in your music that sets

you apart as a band. Tell me more about your sound. It’s because there are seven people in the band who come from a diversity of musical backgrounds, we like to keep ourselves, and listeners interested. Our sound is inspired a lot by music that we individually like, can relate to or are inspired by and by our attitudes to the occurrences in our and others’ lives. All in all our sound is inspired by what feels RIGHT. You guys perform in/at a lot in different spaces, how do the experiences differ across the spectrum? The goal is to maintain a strong energy on stage while still feeding off the energy of the crowd. Concentrating on that, while maintaining a free mind will make any space a space worth performing in. How do you navigate the space between indie and the mass market? music

We are all about the mass market, we may not look that way on the surface, possibly due to stereotypes of sorts, but we strive for a sound that everyone can enjoy, including ourselves. We strive for unselfish music. What is the concept behind your new album The Virtual Kids? The concept for The Virtual Kids arose out of an ‘umbrella’ concept for Grassy Spark. We wanted to create and begin a journey that listeners could fully tap into and follow. This is the reason for the ‘kid’ aspect, which represents the beginning of the story. The concept is also depicted in the album artwork having a ‘natural’ foetus that is growing up into a city. The band also holds a belief in the ability to create our own realities, which is the meaning of ‘virtual’. This could also be interpreted as the generation born into a generation of virtual technology. Look out for the next step of the journey!



THE BROTHER MOVES ON 4/5 Diamonds A New Myth is the latest offering from The Brother Moves On (TBMO), released 5th December 2013. True to their name, the JHB based performance art group remains undeterred and transcendent, despite the recent tragic passing of one of the founding members, Nkululeko Mthembu. The album thus begins with an affirmation that Everything Will Be Okay, and the melancholic melodies of The Mourning After seem to dissolve one into the other in acceptance of the unbearable lightness of being. Other key tracks include Zwagitation, the quintessential psychedelic rock instrumentals tethered to home soil by the earthy voice of Siyabonga Mthembu.

Music Reviews

Words By: Tebesutfu Nkambule

Party@parktownmansions shows the group always has their finger on the pulse of society- suggestive and insightful, bordering on bystander but it still holds as valuable commentary on an undesirable socio-political status quo. A New Myth maintains TBMO’s strong sense of identity, the symbolic lyricism: a reverential and spiritual ode to culture and ancestral guidance.


NAKHANE TOURE 2/5 Diamonds JHB based Nakhane Toure, born Nahkane Mahlakahlaka, has taken South Africa by storm with his debut album Brave Confusion, something more than a stroke of luck that has landed him four SAMA nods. It has the element of the unprecedented and the sound is alternative and folky. Nakhane exhibits the markings of a seasoned musician with nifty guitar work and intricate interludes; but the most defining element of his sound is his haunting voice, which has been compared to the likes of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Most of the tracks reflect dark inner spaces using heartfelt lyrics and sublime acoustics but there are a few departures from the melancholic to vibey in melodies like Robert. Unfortunately, flat instrumentals that are forced alive with rock inspired guitar solos are the prevailing theme of the album, which makes it sound a bit longer than it really is.


ZUKO COLLECTIVE Rating: 3/5 Diamonds


The JHB bred Zuko Collective describe themselves as “creative freedom fighters”, and their latest musical offering Skuif! sees them on the pilgrimage to liberate through their eclectic jazzy sounds steered by Nozuko Mapoma’s sensual and soulful vocals.

Bundu FX is the debut ep from Muzi, officially dropped September 2013. This Durbanite renders all geographical stereotypes obsolete with a headstrong invasion of a commonly type-casted genre: dubstep.

The group plays around with genres and age, from exploring the esoteric with Ephupheni to embracing the chaos in the rock inspired Cry Baby. The classic love story narrative Without You grips one with nostalgia- calm melodies reminiscent of the good ol’ Sophiatown days pull at the heartstrings with the persistence of a timeless jam. Zuko Collective is a band with a clear directive- to invigorate and reconnect with the authenticity and spirituality of music; the definition of a great live experience.


3.5/5 Diamonds

The sound is its ghetto bastard with trap ass-clap snares, head bang bass drops and scattered shards of trance “a la vida loca”. Although the experience is only 4 tracks long it is one of high energy and attitude, mad flavour spiced with definitive adlibs; Slow Hit goes in the hardest- insanity simmering, escalating and exploding. Bundu FX is the perfect soundtrack to a reckless and fearless night out.



Jozi unsigned is your one-way ticket to the thumping pulse of Jozi’s independent live music scene. We believe in local talent, the power of the arts and the capacity of Jozi’s dynamic cosmopolitan citizens to drive change in our great city. We seek to build on the culture of community to create awareness and promote the great voices hidden on the unheard corners of Jozi streets. Live Jozi. Live music.

Words By: Pumla Mtongana



MSAKI A rare talent, a true artist and an inspiring young musician. Msaki is a breaking new star who hails from East London, a gifted composer and songwriter who brings intellect and wisdom beyond her years into her music. This soulful guitarist is carving out a new space in the

South African music scene calling it indie-afro- folk. Her music is honest, fresh, provocative and moving. Msaki has shared the stage with the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, The Blk Jks, Zakes Bantwini and Micasa. Msaki has performed and sold out shows at the National Arts Festival

in Grahamstown and a variety of intimate venues in her hometown East London as well as Johannesburg. Every gig has earned Msaki a rapturous applause and a new following of loyal fans.

Photography: human inc. music



PLANET LINDELA Planet Lindela is a three-piece course of refugee jazz served with an accompaniment of salsa infused funk.

into the body of the music; as he fluently switches between soprano, alto and tenor saxophones.

The soul of this one of a kind sound is perched rebelliously at the fingertips of Bradley Mngomezulu Maponya and his charismatic double bass, while Tebogo Mokoena breathes life

Planet Lindela often open the floor, sharing the love and talent with other local jazz musicians, delivering some of the most memorable collective jam sessions.

This soweto- born band, have a steadily growing following of loyal fans built over an exciting five-year journey.

Photography: Bram Lammers MUSIC



JOEL KARABO ELLIOT Joel Karabo Elliot (or JKE) is a composer, singer- songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, a farmer, artist-lover and a believer of grand folklore. Joel originally hails from Indiana, USA. Later in his life he settled in a village in the open spaces of Limpopo Province in South Africa, where he became

karabo. Joel Karabo is an artist who draws inspiration from Mother Afrika’sroots and her American branches. His two homelands speak plentifully through his music, while his poetry and lyric connect the narratives of both continents to portray a fresh take on diaspora.

Photography: Ts’eliso Monaheng music




birth a new myth of

The Brother Moves on have been blowing minds for the past few years and nothing seems to be slowing them down. The Jozi based ensemble made up of Siyabonga Mthembu, Zwelizwe Mthembu (aka Makongela), Raytheon Moorvan, Ayanda Zalekile and Simphiwe Tshabalala, bend the rules of performance art; vehemently fusing a stirring mix of musical styles, influence and sounds with costumes and storytelling to create a distinct. Despite the bleakness of the loss of group member Nkululeko Mthembu, the groups sound continues to assume the quality of a flicker of light at the end of a long dark passage. Kaffein checked in with the band after a packed show at Maboneng’s Moad (Museum of African Design) to find out about their music in a transitional generation; the cultural complexity, the collective; as individuals and their latest offering A New Myth.

Words By: Nomaswazi Shabalala



Photography: Tseliso Monaheng



Z: Zweli Mthembu and R: Raytheon Moorvan Tell me about uZweli, where is he from and whe he grew up.

wrote the song Yakhali Mbazo in reaction to that.

Z: So this is how it is: I grew up in Thembisa, and it was rough between 1993 and 1994. It was quite rough because of the violence in the streets and shit.

Were any of your parents musical?

I grew up in a time where there were a lot of clashes between the different political parties. I saw that, and to see us in this space right now is actually a pretty thing. Like one time when I was younger, the IFP (a certain political party) was apparently looking for young boys to slaughter. My sister literally had to lock me up in the closet for about 8 hours; experiencing that, and growing older, we

Z: My dad tried to play the clarinet and he lost it. R: Yeah, my whole family is musical, it’s a curse. A curse? R: Yes a curse, a no-job-havingmother fuckers curse. But you have a job, wouldn’t you say that your art is your job in a way? Z: Ya no, it’s working, at times (laughs)


(laughs) It’s admirable that you have found a space that allows you to express yourself while also making money out of it, not a lot of people can do that. Z: Yes... Back to your musical dad. Z: Yes umm, my dad played the clarinet then went into literature and theatre.




The Black Diamond Butterfly’s monologue about our failed revolution... Z: Wait, The Black Diamond Butterfly does not like to be represented, please quote me on that one, he would like to answer every question on his own Okay, but what is the significance of his monologue to you guys, why is he there? Z: As a young South African, you can hear that he comes from the past and the present. He expresses the thought process of the youth, the anger that we have towards everything happening around us. We are not mocking anything but exposing what is going on in a lighter sense. Yes, I want to know about your song Abo Ngamala Nabo Darkie… I love that song, please tell me a little more about it. Z: Darkies. White people. We all have our struggles, that’s the reason why this country hasn’t reached its full potential yet. Once we realise those small little fears, like when I’m crossing the road and old white people lock their doors even when I’m G’d up from the feet up you know what I mean; I have a guitar and shit, it shows that I’m not going to rob you but still they feel like it’s necessary to lock their doors

when I roll up. At the same time we are also quick to yell: “rascist” when a white person doesn’t like you because you’ve done A or B to make it that way. I feel like as soon as we eliminate all of this, then we will be sorted. I understand that you guys perform in a lot of spaces, how do the experiences differ across the spectrum? Z: The point is to always be in a new space to open up new spaces for musicians. The idea of us playing in a museum, for example, instead of a stadium is much closer to where we see ourselves; we really respect the art form, what we are doing and what we want to do and also to show other musicians that they


can follow in our footsteps and that they can also respect their art in the sense that it is higher art and not just about making people dance. We are here to connect on a deeper level. That’s why we chose the different places. Some places are so disconnected, like a club, you know. It’s very disconnected from us.



It’s interesting how spaces are so connected to emotion. How do you then navigate between the different spaces? I mean the mass market and the indie market. Do you appeal to the mass market? Z: We are not marketers. We are artists, we are expressionists (don’t quote us on this one).

(laughs) I will quote you on that. Why the fear to own who you are though? Z: The word ‘artists’ has been overused, also that’s how you see me but essentially I am uZweli. But I would like to thank everyone who has ever given us props and hugs, it really makes us who we are. Last question, tell me about A New Myth. Z: A New Myth has musicians tears in it. It has musicians


sweat, blood, and memories; it has starvation, fat bellies, love, hate, and arguments; it has moments of peace. A New Myth is us moving away from our younger selves and expressing ourselves in a different way.

We were crazy back then, back when we wrote songs like Dakiwe and Thelu Moya, now we are slightly more mature and A New Myth expresses that. We have sort of held back a bit because it is for an album, we have left all the craziness for the stage, just to separate the two. They were different projects, that is why A New Myth sounds different to how we sound when we’re on stage.





Upclose with Zweli “Zwesh” Mthembu of The Brother Moves On. Later on in the year our Lethabo sat down with Zweli Mthembu of The Brother Moves on for a much more personal interview recorded for Kaffein Radio . In this 3 part interview we speak egos, the unfortunate passing of Nkululeko “Nkush” Mthembu, The making of A New Myth and more.




WORDS Letters are paint. Paintings with all their profound blends are a thousand words. In the information age we seem to be more excited and interested in imagery but what of the words that give sight to the blind? What of the letters that trigger our imaginations?




Photography: Tseliso Monaheng



Colonial Bastards Osmond Tshuma is a Zimbabwean born illustrator with an ever-open mind to learning and creating. He revisits the past to refresh our memories through his work. Osmond is an artist vagabond or what others might call a nomad forever wanting, exploring and learning.

Words By: Okuhle Magcaba WORDS


How did you get into graphic design? I fell in love with graphic design mid-2007: I’d just finished my two-year Diploma in Fine Art at the Peter Birch School of Art and a computer graphics course at Pace College; both in Zimbabwe. I got my first job as a graphic designer at a design agency in Harare called Happen Communication that year. Since then, I’ve been learning more about graphic design through Harare Polytechnic College (2009) and the University of Johannesburg (graduated 2014). I’m currently a designer at OPENCO, a creative advertising agency. What was the inspiration behind your Colonial Bastards Rhodes typeface?


Colonial Bastard Rhodes is a display font, a post-colonial critique, and the first typeface of the future Colonial Bastard font family. The motivation was to design a truly African typeface, without stereotyping Africa, but no matter how I approached the visual inspiration it still hinted at stereotypes of Africa. For that reason, I decided to focus on the colonization of Africa. While researching this intense historical era, I was drawn to four characters, specifically one of the most influential British colonisers: businessman and politician, Cecil John Rhodes. Advertising material from the Rhodes-era often stereotyped African natives as “unclean savages”. The Pears Soap print adverts specifically, are the main inspiration for the look and feel of Colonial Bastards Rhodes.


Describe your work process. The first thing I do when I get a brief is to try to understand what the brief is about: what it needs, the objectives. Then I do some research depending on the brief. I then brainstorm ideas creating a mind map. I then choose a few ideas and compare. After I have chosen the strongest idea, I research the look & feel suitable for the concept, sketch, and start designing.



What new projects are you working on? Colonial Bastard Rhodes is the first typeface of the Colonial Bastard font family. I’m currently working on the other three typefaces: Colonial Bastard Stanley; Colonial Bastard Livingstone and Colonial Bastard Bismarck. The four typefaces will form the Colonial Bastard Family. I also have other projects lined up with Seth Beukes, an illustrator and art director.


Who in the graphic design field are some of your role models and why? My role models include Saki Mafundikwa, Sindiso Nyoni, Chaz Maviyane Davies, and Stefan Sagmeister. Saki Mafundikwa is the author of the graphic design book: Afrikan Alphabets, an analysis of African writing systems. Sindiso Nyoni’s illustration style, his use of colours, textures and patterns inspires me. Chaz Maviyane Davies’ work is very political and makes


social commentary. Stefan Sagmeister is the founder of Sagmeister & Walsh, a design firm based in New York. What are the difficulties of the industry you’re in? The most difficult aspect is time; with client expectations and deadlines that need to be met- there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Being able to manage time is challenging but also necessary; along with being able to be creative without losing sight of what is best for the brand.






Art Subcultures in

South Africa.

Are they relevant? South African art subcultures have been growing steadily since the advance of democracy in 1994. Not to say they never existed before, just not on this scale, and not with such ready acceptance and variety as we witness now. Some would argue that this country’s sluggish economic growth doesn’t exactly foster a conducive climate for youth counterculture. The Skhothane movement is a case in point; also considering how the arts are already widely viewed as exclusionist. The perceived exclusionary nature of the arts can be said to lie in the following elements: the jargon; the sometimes obscure locations; a look and feel that is said to be openly unwelcoming to ‘outsiders’; not to mention the unapologetic brashness, non-conformist, rebellious attitude the youth have towards the current status quo. This usually means that the arts are one of the first ‘victims’ when it comes to budget cuts, as seen with dwindling spending, donations and even in funding ventures aimed at nurturing disadvantaged budding artists. Taking the controversial nature of art into consideration, when placed within the boundaries of predominantly conservative traditional dynamics, it becomes easy to see why the idea of an art subculture headed by the youth doesn’t exactly induce warm and fuzzy feelings for funders. An example of this is former Dep. of Arts and Culture minister Lulu Xingwane’s reaction towards Zanele Muholi’s controversial exhibition in 2010. Funders ranging from private or business funders, and old art patrons who usually in one way or another expect artists to colour within the lines of societal or age old norms inadvertently affect where the arts are headed.

Words By: Shakira Qwabe

This is already evident when you look at the shrinking numbers of ballet companies, theatre groups, etc., as funds, donations and ticket sale numbers trickle. It can also be seen in the field of literature and academics with art lovers rejecting slam poetry as one of many facets of poetry. The reality though, is that globalisation means young South African artists have now found a myriad of means to express themselves as they see fit. They finally have full ownership and control of their artistic inclinations as well as the ability to showcase, publish, exhibit and perform as they wish because of advances in technology. They are now, to a certain degree, no longer at the mercy of elements like availability of funds, recording deals, publishing houses, etc. Young artists are shaping, showcasing and selling their art and their truth to the rest of the world on their own terms. They are in turn shaping trends from a truly African yet modern perspective. A perspective without rules or hoops for them to manoeuvre through before such opportunities are granted to them. This is the true gift of South African art subculture: an unpretentious, unedited glimpse into the minds and hearts of S.A’s young artists, who were doomed like all the youth in this country to drag around the shackles of black, young, disenfranchised and angry youth but instead chose to carve out a new art culture that restored the power to control their talent firmly in their hands, and doing so unapologetically. Maybe, just maybe, they are the true reflection of our country’s tenacity in the face of adversity not to mention our ability to be innovative.




the liberation of the

individual “I QUESTIONED A SOCIETY THAT HAS GROWN TOO COMFORTABLE” He was the first thing I noticed as I walked along that street in London where everything was awash with grey: a young, hooded face caught in the streetlight. Larger than life, his gentle eyes watched the city pass on by. He was painted onto an old brick wall; a street child given a presence that could not be ignored. He turned the street into a living, dynamic canvas which demanded every passing person to examine their own place within it. I saw creative culture in London, and I returned home looking for it. In villages, children play unthreatened on dusty earth, assuring me that sticks, sand and friendship are enough for happiness; that there is creative culture there. At a women’s HIV prevention conference I attended recently, the guest speaker arrived late.

Words By: Andrea Teagle

Their purpose is to make us remember. Creative culture is not afraid to ask why. Creative spirit is not afraid to look squarely at what is: it doesn’t turn away from death, poverty and disease. It doesn’t care whether its expressions are received with discomfort. It’s the courage to look beyond what is and imagine a different, better reality. Street art is a product of creative culture: a culture born with its eyes open to reality, engaging not just the rich, or the artistic, but everybody. Standing there beneath the boy’s gaze: I questioned a society that has grown too comfortable, where questions have begun to dry up. I thought of South Africa, a society constantly challenging itself: of a culture with people fighting to bridge parallel realities that have existed so long that their anomalies fail to strike us. I thought of people prepared to question themselves: of a vibrant, dynamic culture defined by open expression. Of art, and businesses that challenge the fortresses we use to both wall ourselves in and alienate our neighbours.

A culture that truly nurses creativity and Suddenly a woman stood up and lifted her voice encourages open expression is one that includes in song. Soon we were all singing and swaying everybody, because it recognises that the together; women from different backgrounds liberation of the individual necessitates the speaking a language of solidarity, one everybody freedom of all. Ours is a society that holds the understood. This interconnectedness between best and the worst of this culture, and expresses such diverse people, speaks of creative culture. both. When an individual is assured of her place This isn’t to say it’s always beautiful, because it within a community, she can find and develop isn’t, but neither are many of the truths of our her own form of expression within the context country. Using faeces to fling the reality of poor of those around her. What develops is a prism of service delivery into the public eye isn’t pretty; it perspectives, reflecting inward and outward. So isn’t meant to be. The impressive and accessible let us keep questioning. Let us keep expressing. collection of artwork in our Constitutional Court Let us grow creative culture here. tells of suffering many of us would rather forget, and sends echoes of feelings we would rather not feel through us. Words



cultivation of a creative conciousness

Our ancestors were angsty teenagers; slit throated ghosts haunting us with the stink of revolution. They tap upon our spirits with an urgent want for us to grow from their deaths, and bring to life a new order. With this mandate heavy on our souls, we must ask, where can the revolution begin? The philosophy of Black Consciousness (BC) is often interpreted, short-sightedly, as a history specific response to a racist and repressive political regime. A deeper, more nuanced reading of it; however, reveals a call to collective creative consciousness, which makes imagination central to revolution. Participants in this movement were tasked with an inward looking process that would identify the negative self-image of Blackness that made one complicit in one’s oppression, and use of that consciousness to construct a self-definition that infused one’s Blackness with a positive selfimage.

Words By: Karen Byera Ijumba Herein lies a response to the beginning of a revolution; it starts with imaging/creating the new. In the 1990s, as South Africa’s Apartheid imposed identities and government induced isolation fell away, the world looked on as the citizens of a country that had been rendered silent began to speak. At the helm of this voice were creatives and innovators in multiple fields, whose visions inspired the lyrics of struggle songs, and whose insights became the sculpting tool for the framework of freedom. As South Africa inserted its localities into a global conversation, new lines of identification were drawn, and with this self-synecdoche came a more complex dialogue on what freedom looks like. Along with that came the awareness that racism is not the only ism that schisms, we are now forced to look past the race-based rhetoric of the anti-Apartheid struggle, and take on the task of re-imagining for the now.

Unlike ideologies that had passed before it, BC’s desire was not the restoration of a previous order or the assimilation of Black people into an existing order. Implicit in its liberation agenda was awareness that servitude was a consequence of destruction, and freedom was a product of creation.




Enter the Post-Rainbow-Nation creatives/ innovators; individuals responsible for shifting our public culture vocabulary from implementation to imagination. In a globalised reality where cultural reproduction invites neo-colonialism, these individuals are responsible for feeding the locals. South Africa has inherited systems, structures, social wins and ills: she is a microcosm of dynamics that can be found in multiple spaces across the world; and in order to garner international relevance, she must not only repeat what exists, but also offer something idiosyncratic. Thus, the task for creative minds becomes two-fold; imagine a way out of the limitations on our contemporary freedom, and ensure that the alternative is unique. This means cultivating a creative culture with local tendencies and global sensibilities; where local is lekker even to the global trekker.

Revolution is the repetition of evolution, and evolution is the product of interactions with the future. When our ancestors martyred their earthly lives, it was for this: the ability to exist in a world that saw them. Respite from their limbo state lays in us re-imaging/creating a world that speaks free.





Fine art

We are living in possibly the most exciting times in South African history, expression is at its peak and our fearless imaginations roam free from the restraints of our subconscious. We came across some deeply rooted artists who paint from the pallet of our heritage and mould from the minerals of our earth. Take a look at our digital exhibition of some of our promising artist.

Curated By: Mbali Dhlamini



Photography: Tseliso Monaheng



Nompumelelo Ngoma

Nompumelelo Ngoma was born in 1984 Soweto, Dlamini. She currently resides in Soweto, Jabulani. She studied Visual Art at the South West Gauteng College and finished an N4 course in 2004. In 2006 she worked at the Standard Bank Gallery as a tour guide for the Picasso and Walter Battis Exhibitions. In 2008 she graduated with a certificate in Printmaking from Artist Proof Studio where she was awarded a bursary by Linda Givon to further her studies. She graduated with a B-Tech in Visual Art from the University of Johannesburg in March 2013. She currently works as an independent artist.

My work interrogates the custom of Lobola which is a common practice, a part of traditional marriages. In my paintings I explore issues of femininity, identity and gender, as I question the notion of domesticity and vulnerability within the context of African tradition. These issues propel me to locate who I am and where I fit in a westernised society as a woman confronted by the reality of an African tradition

to formulate a relationship between the bride and the cow. The traditional framework of marriage therefore becomes a space of fear and unease that the protagonist bride enters.

The feminist aspects such as subservience and the gaze come into play as I attempt to unpack the underlying issues that resonate within the culture of give and take; lobola to be precise. The prominent subject matter in my work is the bride and the cow which is the bride price. The bride price is depicted in either as hanging meat carcass, skulls or the head of cow. I thus begin

I use my self-portrait as a point of reference for my source material where I undergo the process of embodying certain characters, playing with the idea of the gaze, in my paintings I am either boldly present or shying away from the viewer’s gaze. The reason why I include the idea of the gaze in my paintings is that I aim to explore and subvert the notion of being perceived as

In my paintings I become the protagonist bride who is confronted with the above mentioned issues. In my paintings I use my self-portrait as a subject, which thus becomes an object subjected to these underlying issues.

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an object of men’s desire as it constitutes subservience. In my work I find myself striving to embrace these cultural values but it becomes difficult because of how these values subsequently perceive black women’s identity as inferior. I therefore find myself caught up between traditional, culture and my values, and the influences of hybridity given the fact that I can negotiate my identity as a woman. The idea of a white gown is a statement on the western ideals which the African culture borrows from, and also the conflict that resonates with the idea of embracing culture in a westernised society.



The valley of dry bones (ii):Epiphany Acrylic. 2012

fine art

courtesy of artist.



No turning back: Point of no return Acrylic 2012

courtesy of artist.

The revelation of the truth:The unveiling Acrylic on canvas 2012 fine art

courtesy of artist.



Stock market exchange. Acrylic 2012.

courtesy of artist. fine art


Mack Magagane


Mack Magagane, 23, was born in South Africa, Soweto, southwest close to the city of Johannesburg. After his matriculation in 2008, he joined the Market Photo Workshop where he was able to explore an artistic interest in architectural design and drawing through photography. He has had a solo-photography exhibition at the Photo Workshop Gallery, Johannesburg, with a series of work titled this city. This work was produced during his 2011/12 Tierney Fellowship at the Market Photo Workshop. In 2011, He was also invited to the 2011 Photoquai Biennale in Paris with a body of work titled, “I’ll be gone soon”. Mack recently completed a residency at Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France in Paris, France which was part of the French - South African season in 2013. He also exhibited the works Southern Suburbia and this city during his stay in Paris as an invited artist at the YGREC Gallery in Strasbourg.

this latest body of work by photographer Mack Magagane, the exhibition “Somewhere Between Here “presents a photographic journey which captures temporal relationships, spaces and moments found when experiencing a city as a foreigner. The images suggest a cinematic quality to the series, tempting, luring and seducing one in, onto these relatively intimate moments. Through the personal relationships that Magagane has developed during a three month residency at the CPIF in Paris, this body of work in its conscious and responsive formalities, depicts a witnessing of a youthful Parisian lifestyle. It is a glimpse of

a city coming across as familiar yet, causing an element of uncertainty, through a ‘blurred’ lens of a semi-recognizable experiences, juxtaposed with unidentifiable subjects, sentiments or not much given context to each image, narrating the works’, “Somewhere Between Here”. “Somewhere Between Here”, entertains a sense of nostalgia in being in a foreign space that of Paris and the reference of home, Johannesburg. Longing for, exploring and questioning an identity of ‘place’. The exhibition consists of images presented in light boxes as sculptural fragments of moments

fine art

captured by the artist, in other words playing with the juxtaposition of the dimensionality of the mediums (photography and sculpture/object) and that of the experience. The format of the exhibition is that also it exists on two platforms whereas the former is its physical presentation the latter is in the form of a catalogue with texts by various authors.



ROOM ,70 Juta street, Braamfontein

images courtesy of Room gallery.

fine art



Mack Magagane, Untitled I, 2014 Archived pigment ink on Innova Fibaprint matt paper. 280gsm 420 x 297mm

Mack Magagane, Untitled V, 2014, Archived pigment ink on Innova Fibaprint matt paper 280gsm, 297 x 210 mm

fine art



Mack Magagane, Untitled XII, 2014 Archived pigment ink on Innova Fibaprint matt paper. 280gsm 297 x 210 mm

Mack Magagane, Untitled III, 2014 Archived pigment ink on Innova Fibaprint matt paper. 280gsm, 297 x 210 mm

fine art



Palesa Litha

Palesa Litha is an experienced jewellery and accessory designer from Soweto who teaches design and technology at Lebone2: the Royal Bafokeng College in Phokeng, Rustenburg. She is also an active musician trained in the classical violin and classical vocals which gives one a good perspective of her motives to make this year’s theme synesthetic design. Complex structures and patterns are her indicative of her design ethos.

Phalesh Designs is a luxury jewellery brand that is young contemporary. Which aims to be a medium of expression for the young cosmopolitan working class of South Africa and across the world who appreciate class, elegance and embrace their individuality. It’s about African simplicity, elegance and uniqueness displayed all in one.

By basing a research study on the neurological condition Synaesthesia, which causes one to cognitively interpret one sense into another, Palesa mapped patterns that exist in both aesthetic disciplines of music and design.

The 2013 jewellery collection, Citrus Bliss, is a reflection of an arrangement of pattern constructed in a complex manner. Palesa paid close attention to the concept of fluidity in the experience of the citrus fruit, i.e. juice, ice lolly and the fragrance. For the Phalesh Designs 2014 collection one Palesa Litha drew her inspiration from the idea of creating synthesis between music and design.

She chose Errol Garner’s rendition of the popular jazz ballad Autumn Leaves, to be the anchoring element of the collection. Palesa then created a range of jewellery that illustrate the patterns in autumn leaves. This jewellery which is made out of Sterling silver is a culmination of both design and music principles represented as a final product after a performance process of creation.

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Each piece was designed and manufactured by Palesa with the intention to make the possessor of the jewelery pieces an extension of the process of the visual projection of sound suspended in time. By doing that, the possessor will carry with them a verse of the ballad “Autumn Leaves” and therefore be part of the performance of the song. The complex systems derived from music and plant anatomy are what anchor the brands identity.


Palesa Litha


images are courtesy of the artist.

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Palesa Litha

images are courtesy of the artist.

Palesa Litha

images are courtesy of the artist.

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Palesa Litha

images are courtesy of the artist.

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Loyiso Mkize

A Fine start

On his website Loyiso Mkize writes “This is what I do, I am an artist in the full sense of the word.” These words are, according to Mkize, the base of what his existence and life experience represent.

Words by: Lethabo Ngakane


Where did you grow up and how did that influence the direction you took? l was born in Butterworth, a very small town in the Eastern Cape, in March of 1987. I come from a family of six: my parents and four siblings, one of whom is my twin sister. Growing up there was no exposure to what an artist was or what an artist can be and coming from a small town, I had an interest in it and pretty much did what l could out of my own my accord. I felt compelled at a very young age to exercise my artistic abilities because of it. Luckily, we were able to watch television so watching K-TV and stuff helped me, I would copy characters I saw and would show my friends at school. Was there anything specific that you wanted to be when you grew up or did this just come naturally to you and you just like went with it? Growing up l wanted to be a body builder. I know that it sounds odd, but I wanted to be one because I watched many movies as kid- I wanted to be heroic. Paintings in history books inspired me and made me


understand that I could do this, and make a living from being an artist. However, as a young person, you are faced with stereotypes and the stigma around being an artist such as that there is a lack of opportunities, which equals poverty- the poor artist. Would you say that this stigma around jobs is something that only “Black people” from mostly townships and stuff can have? Yes, there are careers and opportunities that are emerging now that you wouldn’t have been able to have 20 years ago because of the situation back then. I think back then, it was always a given that you would be a policeman etc, depending on and with the obvious limitations of the time. I am lucky my parents were somewhat open-minded when l was growing up. They strove to facilitate whatever their kids wanted and then exposed us to as many things as possible. My dad saw that l had an interest in art and would take us to the Grahamstown Arts Festival. If you take everything into context, you could understand how profound that was; as a parent coming

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from that area [rural areas], to be able to overlook stigmaseverything and say l want my son to be the best of what he can to be. What do you focus on when creating portraitures? The thing l enjoy about painting portraits is that they spark so many conversations and emotions. Achieving this is tricky because to get to the point of depicting a person, you have to learn about and understand the human anatomy. The most important aspects for me are the eyes and emotions. You then go further and learn to understand colours, how they are relatable to human emotions.




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Tell me about Kwezi. How did you come to create Kwezi? To be honest, comic books are my first love. I was reading them and drawing little comics of my own ever since l was a kid. I eventually studied graphic design, and when l was in my second year, l started working on Supa Strikas as a comic illustrator. That was a great milestone for me because l young- it was quite a cool thing to happen to me. It was when that milestone was reached that Kwezi came about. I had always wondered what a South African hero would be like. There is Superman, Batman, the X-Men, however as great as they are, I couldn’t see anything that l could relate to in them; that made me realise that there is a distance between them and me. Obviously, as a creative person, l made it my duty many years ago to design a comic book character, a superhero and that is how two years ago Kwezi came to be. I started doing my research and based the character on my younger cousin.


What keeps you going dude? I think l’ve been very fortunate; there are many things l’ve managed to do in my career in a short span of time. The many milestones I’ve reached in my career have allowed me to go forward however, as a creator there is the fear of not being able to survive on just my creative abilities alone. How would you like to make an impact on South African creative culture? It is hard for me to say exactly what my intended hopes are for the South African arts and creative scene. I am currently on my own personal journey of discovery, I realised just four years ago that l can paint and I want to explore and grow that part of me, along with the comic book. The youth all over Africa are greatly versatile, such immense talent in so many fields. For me, from the point of an observer, that proves the potentiality of a huge impact in creative arts/culture. As creatives when we are left to our own devices, we are able to do extremely good things and even transcend them. We go beyond what

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we are capable of achieving because we remember or need to- that for a very long time we couldn’t do what we can do now. We are starting to see people winning awards for their talents; doing these big things in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia. So many people are starting to make and take opportunities because we are able to do that now. That’s what’s exciting about us, the fact that this generation is able to define itself, to define its own identity and l think this is going to bring about many changes in selfawareness and the arts. For me at this point, the one thing I intend to keep is my consistency in the work l do. What is also very important for me is to start creating an audience that will grow with me. The best is still yet to come and that’s what informs my craft. I think this is what influences creative people and creative culture to keep growing.



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I would like to influence and instil the importance of authenticity; being unique. Understand yourself and what you are about, speak to your impulses, speak to your own motivation and chances are people are going to instantaneously pick up on it. When people are able to follow their instincts and do their own thing, it becomes quite special. Unlike when everyone is doing the same thing: when everyone looks and sounds the same. When it’s like that, there is no


innovation. What is creativity without innovation? What is creativity without creatives? I agree with you when you say that there are a hell of a lot of people who struggle with identity and individualism because they are basing it on what the next person is doing or how the next person is reacting to a certain thing. In the end, it’s all about doing our part creatively. I am doing my part; the next person is doing their part. There is room for all that creativity, you don’t

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need to copy anyone you don’t need to try and be anyone; there is room for everybody. creativity, you don’t need to copy anyone you don’t need to try and be anyone; there is room for everybody.





“Konnichiwa” friends, the Cool Sh*t train is fully loaded, back again to bring you a “basket” of new, original and sometimes unusual yet modern items to tickle your fancy. Yes, I understand we’ve been away for a while but we’re back from our vacation and ready to share a couple of gadgets that we have found.

Words By: Japan



Image courtesy of



I have seen quite a few new gadgets and novelty items to share with you all. As you know from past articles, I am not about to sugarcoat anything. Let us delve back into this world of the weird, interesting and digitally awesome goods. A quick reminder that all items are for sale and some will only be available at the end of the year; so if you feel the itch to go online and purchase any one these items, do not hesitate. Happy reading and happy buying…

INGENUITY FROM EARIN. From the ashes a phoenix will rise; former Sony Ericsson and Nokia engineers have created something out of the ordinary and straight up bazaar yet tasteful. You will get the best quality from the cordless Bluetooth earphones because they are in-ear monitors so the sound is directional and you won’t lose sound quality as opposed to when using normal earphones. Another great thing about that they are cordless, which means there are no fussy cords to untangle. You can insert these nifty little earphones into your ears straight from your pocket. High-density rechargeable batteries power the earphones. They also and come with a charger that you can keep in your pocket.


majority of portable speakers that I have come across. Mini Jambox lives up to its name in that it’s small, and boy does it deliver.

We’ll get straight into it with this amazing piece of ingenuity. I was privileged to try out a few speaker brands and I have to admit that I’m incredibly picky when it comes to the delivery and sound quality that comes from my speakers.

The sound quality is impeccable; like Napoleon Bonaparte, it’s small but it sure packs a punch, like they say dynamite comes in small packages, if you are being really cliché.

If you are looking for a portable speaker with clear, crisp, powerful, and unhindered sound, look no further than Mini Jambox by Jawbone. This amazing piece of speaker awesomeness just trumped a

Price $134 cool sh*t

With up to 10 hours of battery life, you’re sure to be the life of the party. Mini Jambox comes in 9 different colours and different dot face designs with each colour.

Price: R1 999



TIMELESS NOOKRONO The next item we’ll be taking a look at is an accessory that is ‘TIMELESS’. It’s simplistic aesthetics are pleasing and allow the design and character of the watch to do its work. The face has a clean look to it and unlike many analogue timepieces of today, it isn’t cluttered. I love this timepiece; it has an artistic vibe to it, which is far from the norm, and I accept anything far from the norm…

If you’re looking to go against the grain, I reckon Nooka is the first place you should look. The Nookrono watch will only be available for purchase in December, and it will sure make a great gift regardless of the occasion. The Nooka team have developed four different Nookrono pieces to choose from, and I assure you, they’re all as equally interesting, unique, visually and artistically amazing and pleasing to the eye. The watch will be available for purchase and shipping in December.

Price: $250

NOVA: OFF CAMERA FLASH (IN YOUR POCKET). Taking a picture on your phone and realising that the lighting is bad or that the flash is too harsh; this has been the bane of photographs taken using smart phones for a while now. The NOVA off camera wireless flash solves all your lighting problems in a slim pocket-sized product.

What can be described as a photographers dream, NOVA has 20 warm and 20 cool LEDs, which when used together with an app created for the NOVA, means that you always have perfect lighting. Truth betold it was only a matter of time for something like the NOVA to be engineered for consumers. In this digital and technological time, people take and post pictures of just about anything; meaning having great photos is of utmost importance.

Well that pretty much brings me to the end of this incredible time with you all. Catch you next time when I delve once more into the world of the weird, artistic, and mostly incredible. Be sure to check out COOL SH*T in our next issue from me Japan I’ll say: “Arigato and Sayonara”. cool sh*t

Price: $60



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