Activator to set Design Indaba alight!

The award winning fashion designer and entrepreneur, Ditiro Mashigo has been selected to be part of the 2017 International acclaimed Design Indaba Festival which will be held in Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre and simulcast live in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Windhoek (Namibia)Lagos (Nigeria), Lausanne (Switzerland) and other cities throughout the world.

The delighted soft spoken designer believes that her participation in this years’ Design Indaba is recognition and a great opportunity for her to continue showcasing her art, talent and entrepreneurial prowess to take her clothing brand Serati Le Kgakana  to the top of the global fashion market.

“I am very grateful to have been selected to be part of this global elite network platform like the Design Indaba. Opportunities like this one only comes once in a lifetime. So my plan is to effectively use this opportunity to network with likeminded international artists, showcase my capabilities as a young designer and connect with potential suppliers and employers,” she said.

This opportunity will benefit other struggling fashion designers

Ditiro’s aim to lobby all the relevant fashion promoters, academia  support organisations, funders, mentorship network contacts and information gained at the festival will not only benefit her alone. As a fashion designer, she hopes her connections will also benefit the rural and emerging fashion designers that she is working with.

“I am very much aware that my participation in this festival can create opportunities for myself, but as a selfless pro-township fashion activist I hope I will attract many key strategic partners which will benefit hundreds of other struggling fashion designers beyond the Design Indaba,” said Ditiro.

Ditiro is part of 2017 Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. According to their communications team: “The programme has seen many contemporary South African Creatives launching their careers through the platform. Every year, the Design Indaba presents a select group of 40 daring and innovative Emerging Creatives. The selected emerging designers then attend workshops from industry professionals, network with fashion community legends and exhibit their work at the Artscape Theatre Centre alongside the Conference, Film Fest and Nightscape. The 2017 Emerging Creatives exhibitions is held at the Artscape in Cape Town, the KZNSA gallery in Durban and at Fox Junction in Johannesburg.’’

Government empowering and linking artists with opportunities

On the other hand, Department of Arts and Culture  minister spokesperson, Zimasa Velaphi said the ministry’s long term plan is to use initiatives like Emerging Creatives as vehicle to empower, expose, fund and link up many competent struggling artists with the potential suppliers and customers. ‘’It is a known fact that in this country and all over the world, that emerging artists who deserve much needed backing from arts stakeholders actually don’t  get it. “As a caring government we have made it our responsibility to do exactly just that or at the very least create connections with already existing platforms like Design Indaba.  The aim behind that is to make sure that artists / fashion designers like Ditiro can also thrive and most importantly have access to market,’’ said Velaphi.

The prestigious gathering features the best of global creativity all on one stage. Other renowned artists who are expected to be part of the 2017 Design Indaba artist festival include Norwegian architecture Kjetil  Thorsen, Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, German industrial designer, tech entrepreneur Marko Ahtisaari , Kenyan photographer, Osborne Macharia, Netherlands born social entrepreneur Isabel Mager Dutch filmmakers Lernert and Sander , just to mention the few.

Fashion industry advice

A fellow Pretoria based fashion designer, Khomotjo Malatji Mopai  (Grapevine Fashion Founder and Creative Director) who also kick started her career via Design Indaba, encouraged Ditiro to go the festival with an open mind.

“Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives is one the most powerful career accelerating platforms for up and coming designers, as a beneficiary of that programme, my advice to Ditiro is, now you are a few steps closer to achieving what most budding fashion designers desire. Your selection is an indication that you are officially among the fashion designers in the country. Now the best thing you can do during Design Indaba festival is operate more like an entrepreneur than an artist. Make lasting connections that will generate money beyond the event. Align yourself with key stakeholders that can assist you to go and showcase in other global fashion platforms like Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week etc,” said Khomotjo.  

Ditiro has also showcased in national and international platforms like the Johannesburg Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Unconventional Fashion Statements (UFS) SANAAA Africa Festival and Tshwane Fashion Counsel, to name a few. 

It’s time for back to basics for the ANC on the land question


On a sunny day on the 28 February 2017, it was like any other political day in the Parliament of South Africa where a spectacle of political debate occured. Today, the political ball chosen to be kicked was the land question and the EFF had the first go to show their style of kick. Without fail, the EFF fly kicked the debate into high tempo.

The debate raged on about the land question and with worldclass square passes from other political parties, the EFF ended the show with a back heel to prove their point that it remained the only party in parliament brave enough to raise the land question.

For that bravery the EFF took the gold cup as a party of brave men and women who can speak on behalf of the majority of landless people in South Africa. The members of parliament of the ANC were put on the backfoot as they fell flat during the debate.

Outside this sideshow in parliament, reality continues to face the landless people that they shall never receive back their land in the immediate future. The landless people of whom the majority are black, went to sleep lastnight on land they do not own, they woke up today on land they have no real claim to as per the constitution of the country.

The ANC as the party of the people can no longer continue to live in the hope that tommorow shall be better and that oneday the people will have their land back. Land is the basis of any human development, it gives courage to human beings, it gives security to people so they have a place they can call home. Land ownership promotes a sense of belonging, it says to the land owner that you can sleep in peace in your own land. Without land, the people remain nobody’s in a country they call home.

The recent xenophobic attacks speaks volumes because perpetrators were fighting people who like them do not own any land in South Africa. These thugs who sought to chase away other African brothers have accepted that they are tenants in South Africa; to them land ownership is not an issue all they want is to own a spaza shop.

Recorded history informs us that the ANC has always been an organisation of debates, negotiations, persuasions and frankness. This special trait of the ANC is now needed more than ever. Parliament of South Africa has illustrated that it is not a house that will deliver total emancipation for all black people. Our ANC must now cease this vacuum and lead society.

It is time the ANC goes back to basics and call a lekgotla of all revolutionary parties and other motive forces to speak to the issue of land. The ANC must now speak to the EFF outside the parliamentary precint. Both these parties formative years were influenced by the land question, it then cannot be unexpected that many common ground will easily be found on this question.

The land question cannot continue to be used for politicking in parliament where people’s public inclusive participation platforms can be created for this purpose. The ANC leaders inside and outside parliament must swallow their political pride and invite the red berets for frank discussions on the land question in a people centred public platform. If the EFF is genuine on addressing the land question, they shall find no excuse to participate in this public platform.

Like it happened with the freedom charter more than 60 years ago, the ANC as the genuine leader of society must lead this process in aiming to give land back to the people. We have hope in the pro african leadership of the ANC to lead this process.

Photo credit: Environment Probe

Themba Vryman is an ANC member and writes in his personal capacity.