7-8 March 2024


Mphangela Sakala 

Title of Exhibit: Psychic Village Mystic Child. 
Mphangela Valerie Sakala is a Zambian graphic designer, illustrator, and writer. She has a vested interest in the realms of visual storytelling, bringing ideas to life through design and words. Her journey into the world of design and illustration began at a young age, sparked by her fascination with cartoons, comic books, and video games. Growing up, she found herself captivated by the intricate illustrations and compelling narratives found within work by the likes of Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Hayao Miyazaki, and Junji Ito. As a graphic designer, she specializes in crafting visually striking designs that not only catch the eye but also convey a story or message. In the realm of illustration, sheenjoys pushing the boundaries of her creativity, experimenting with different styles and techniques along the way. As a writer, she often draws inspiration from her love for the horror genre, delving into themes of fear, mystery, and the supernatural. She aims to provoke thought and introspection and broaden the basis on which Afrikans can exist and express themselves.

Bongeka Makabeni

Title of Exhibition: UNDERREPRESENTED VOICE: Women of Colour in Conservation.
My journey into conservation photography was indeed a fortuitous turn of events, but it has grown into a purposeful and deeply meaningful endeavor. As I reflect on my six years as a conservation photographer, I'm reminded of the powerful and transformative role visual storytelling plays in communicating the urgency of conservation issues. It's a space where my artistic expression meets my passion for the environment. This project, which I completed as part of my Bachelor of Visual Arts Honors, represents a pivotal point in my career. It allowed me to delve into a subject that is not only close to my heart but also carries broader societal implications. The underrepresentation of people of color, particularly black women, in conservation narratives is a poignant issue, and through my photography, I aim to challenge and change this narrative. As I move forward, my mission remains clear: to continue telling visual stories that celebrate the diversity of perspectives within the conservation landscape. I'm committed to shedding light on the unique connections and stories of people of color and their relationship with the natural world. Through my work, I hope to inspire change, foster greater inclusivity, and contribute to a more holistic and representative understanding of conservation in South Africa and beyond.

African Knowledge Production Incubators Project

The African Knowledge Production Incubators (AKPI) project was born of a desire to take action. Hence, based on the Participatory Action Learning Action Research (PALAR) approach the AKPI project is based on a collective co creation of African lived experiences from six social work academics across five South African Universities viz. Nevashnee Perumal and Veonna Goliath (Nelson Mandela University), Motlaelepule Nathane (University of the Witwatersrand) , Priscalia Khosa (Stellenbosch University), Thanduxolo Nomngcoyiya (University of Fort Hare) and Mbongeni Sithole (University of Kwazulu Natal). Based on the methodology, all of us are researchers as well as participants in this project.

Dr Brigalia Bam Exhibition

Nelson Mandela University takes pride in its commitment to a developmental trajectory that positions itself as an embedded university, dedicated to serving society. Central to this ethos is the establishment of robust solidarity networks with likeminded civil society organisations and institutions, aimed at catalysing transformative change within our society. The partnership launch with the Doctor Brigalia Bam Foundation serves as an exemplar of this principle. This collaborative endeavour is emblematic of our esteem for leaders who played pivotal roles in the liberation and reconstruction of our nation, particularly during the promising years of our democracy. This resonates profoundly with the intellectual culture we strive to cultivate within our University. As we shape our institutional narrative, mindful of the imperative to decolonise learning environments, our historical narratives gain significance through deliberate choices related to space, race, gender, inclusion, exclusion, and beyond. This historical contextualisation is further enriched by recognising the pivotal yet often overlooked contributions of women.

Decolonising Architectural Pedagogy: Fostering Indigenous Building Techniques for Culturally Rooted Sustainable Architectural Solutions

Group exhibition:


Reetumetsi Malefane

As an early career Academic and Lecturer at Nelson Mandela University, I bring a blend of professional experience and academic rigor to the field of architecture. With industry-built practice as a Professional Architect, I have honed an understanding the application of architectural principles and their real-world applications. My academic journey started with my master’s in architecture, with my treatise exploring themes of culture and identity in contested socio-spatial landscapes. The research explored how subjugated narratives of architectural representation and cultural practices can confront the hegemonic colonial constructs of Architecture in public spaces. The Design Proposal demonstrated how architectural hybridity could serve as a catalyst for forging a new African discourse, fostering dialogues between dominant narratives of colonial rule and subjugated narratives of an African discourse. Building upon this foundation, my current research focuses on Decolonizing Architectural Pedagogy, fostering experimental and qualitative methodologies through the integration of indigenous knowledge systems in the curriculum, challenging epistemic canon of knowledge production in architectural education. The outcome demonstrates a new blended, innovative hybridized Architectural solutions that embody local cultural identities and advanced construction technical strategies for sustainable building practices in African contexts. The research promotes a model for architectural education that nurtures local materiality and cultural heritage, while embracing emerging construction ingenuity in architectural practices.


Thabiso Mmema

Thabiso Mmema, a Durban native, is a passionate architectural technology student with a flair for graphic design. Inspired by Durban's diverse architectural landscape, Thabiso is driven by a desire to merge traditional principles with cutting-edge technology. He explores advancements in sustainable design and digital modelling, while also honing his skills as a sketcher and digital artist. Captivated by architecture's role in shaping communities, Thabiso is eager to contribute his creativity and innovation to the field, both in South Africa and beyond."

Thina Blanket

Thina Blanket, a 22-year-old student pursuing architectural technology at Nelson Mandela University, originally born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, has harboured an unwavering passion for architecture from an early age. Intrigued by the intricacies of building design and its capacity to evoke emotion through spatial elements, Thina's admiration for the field deepened as she gained a more profound understanding of its technical aspects. Her ultimate ambition is to carve a prominent niche for herself in the international architectural industry by establishing a distinguished architectural firm. In pursuing this goal, Thina envisions the positive impact her designs can have on people's lives, emphasizing both aesthetic beauty and the prioritization of safety and security measures.

Thabang Chiloane

Aspiring architect from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, currently in their third year of architectural Technology enrolled at Nelson Mandela University. Recently placed third in the York Timber Designs Competition, an exploration of the technical aspects of indigenous building systems and emerging timber technologies in the technical resolution showcasing a passion for innovative design. Eager to pursue a Master of Architecture (MArch) degree to further my expertise and address contemporary architectural challenges. Committed to community involvement and sustainability. Enjoys exploring diverse architectural styles and cultural experiences. Excited to contribute to the field of architecture and make a positive impact.

Mahlodi Mphaki

Mahlodi Mphaki, an aspiring Architectural Technology student, inherits a profound passion for architecture from a family deeply rooted in construction. Fueled by an innate desire to evoke emotion through design, Mahlodi's journey embodies diligence and leadership. With an unwavering work ethic, Mahlodi emerges as a beacon of motivation, thriving in diverse environments. As a team leader, Mahlodi not only excels but also inspires others, fostering collaboration and innovation. Beyond technical prowess, Mahlodi's articulate demeanor, coupled with confidence and humor, brings warmth to interactions. With each project, Mahlodi's commitment to excellence shines through, reflecting a blend of expertise and a genuine love for the craft. Mahlodi Mphaki stands poised to leave an indelible mark on the architectural landscape.

Adriaan Nel

Adriaan Nel, born and raised in the picturesque coastal town of Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, is a 21-year-old aspiring architect with a passion for design, innovation and technical resolution. Growing up surrounded by the natural beauty of the Eastern Cape, Adriaan developed a keen eye for aesthetic and functional architecture. Currently in his third year of studying Architectural Technology, Adriaan has consistently excelled academically, earning the title of overall best student in first year group and continues to strive for excellence. His dedication to his studies is matched only by his hands-on experience in the field. “I am of opinion that the Architectural Technology program provides a comprehensive foundation, imparting skills essential for cultivating a versatile Architectural Technologist. Through delving into indigenous building systems, I gained profound insights into Cultural preservation, Sustainability, Social equity, and their potential to inspire innovation within contemporary architecture.” - Adriaan Nel. Driven by a desire to blend artistry with functionality, Adriaan strives to push the boundaries of architectural design, aiming to leave a lasting impact on the built environment. With his talent, determination, and unwavering dedication, Adriaan Nel is poised to become a leading figure in the world of architecture.

Njabulo Ngwenya

Detail-orientated Architectural Technology student with expertise in analysis and quantitative problem-solving skills, dedicated to growth and improvements. I have the ability to understand and share feelings of another. With me being creative and artistic from an early age, I grew a massive passion for designing a variety of things such as clothes, cars, houses, and different landscapes. At the age of 10 I started participating in art competitions where I usually won first and second position. I later joined a local art organization where we created, exhibited, and sold different kinds of artworks. I began to admire the building industry when I took my technical studies in grade 10. I specifically loved designing dwellings and clothing. I then perceived my excellence in creating elegant and lovely interior & exterior spaces, which has led to be my dream career. I believe a designer should be functional, creative, be observant and interface with art. With me having those qualities, I know I will make a great architectural designer.

Sphosihle Manci

Sphosihle Clerence Manci, a tenacious third-year Architectural Technology student from Johannesburg with a background in civil engineering, navigates his academic journey with unwavering determination. Growing up in a working-class family, Sphosihle's early passion for structures and design led him to pursue a diploma in Architectural Technology, supplemented by an N4 in civil engineering. Despite financial challenges, he is committed to crafting spaces that harmoniously blend aesthetics with functionality, ensuring accessibility for all. Securing a bursary attests to his dedication to education. In his third year, Sphosihle distinguishes himself through innovative design approaches, reflecting a profound understanding of the societal and environmental impact of architectural decisions. Actively engaging in competitions, he receives acclaim for integrating inclusivity, technology, sustainability, and community engagement into his designs. With a vision for a future where architecture enhances the quality of life for everyone, Sphosihle's journey signifies resilience and an aspiration to leave a lasting impact on the architectural landscape, driven by the belief that well-designed, sustainable spaces should be accessible to all, elevating the human experience.

Gustav Kotze

My name is Gustav Kotze. I was born in a small town named George and spent most of my life there. I went to George South Primary School and then to Outeniqua Highschool. I am currently a 3rd year Architectural Technology student at Nelson Mandela University. Ever since I was little, I had a deep passion and interest for Architecture and Architectural Technology. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to study this and to one day work in this field. I regard myself as a perfectionist and as someone with a very high work ethic. I am very dedicated to my craft, and I aspire to always stand out, by implementing unique aspects to my designs and drawings. As stated before, I have a deep passion and love for Architecture, therefore I will never work a day in my life.

Lwandile Macingwane

Being born and raised in a city like Cape Town, you are exposed to all types of architecture. This sparked an interest in architecture for me. I’ve known from a young age that its a career I’d like to pursue. One comes to learn that a lot of thought goes into an efficient and aesthetically pleasing design. Architecture is a form of expression and communication. Every space has a story to tell, reflecting the cultural, social, and historical context in which it was created. The play of light and shadow, the use of materials, the scale and proportion of a building - all contribute to the overall sensory experience. Architecture allows us to appreciate the artistry and creativity of the human mind, as well as the impact it has on us. My university journey thus far has been a transformative experience that offers a diverse range of opportunities from personal growth to academic development. From engaging lectures to thought-provoking discussions, we are constantly exposed to new ideas and perspectives that challenge our thinking and broaden our horizons. Embarking on the Laphalala project was quite an experience as it opened new horizons. We got to broaden our knowledge by researching alternative construction methods e.g. CLT, Timber, Glulam etc. What I most like about Architectural Technology is construction details and sections. This gives a wholesome understanding of construction. The Studio fosters a sense of community and collaboration. Crits is where we learn, develop and improve. University is an endless journey of exploration, growth and self-discovery.

Yonela Ngalo

I am Yonela Ngalo. A third year student in the department of Architectural Technology. I grew up in a small town called Adelaide in Eastern Cape. As a girl from a small town that wasn't exposed to a lot of things, the only thing that pushed me was determination, passion, dedication and the love I had for drawings. I hope to further learn about architecture and its collaboration with other professions, aiming to create a harmonious world. As a creative and self-reformed individual who has passion for architecture and its ability to showcase different perspective.

Nduduzo Nyembe

Nduduzo Ngcebo Nyembe, a dedicated and fast-learning student at Nelson Mandela University, is currently pursuing his third year in Architectural Technology. Born and raised in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, in the small village of Nquthu, his journey to becoming a student of architecture is a testament to the power of destiny and determination. Growing up, Nduduzo had little exposure to the world of architecture, initially aspiring to become a businessman. However, fate had other plans for him. His innate curiosity and love for buildings led him to frequent construction sites, where he eagerly observed and even lent a hand, unknowingly laying the foundation for his future career. Despite initial doubts about his ability to pursue higher education, Nduduzo's unwavering faith and the guiding influence of his ancestors propelled him to pursue his passion for architecture. With gratitude to both God and his ancestors, he embarked on his educational journey at Nelson Mandela University, embracing the challenge with open arms and a determined spirit. As Nduduzo continues on his path towards becoming an architect, he remains proud of his roots and the lessons learned along the way. His story serves as a beacon of hope and encouragement, reminding others to trust in themselves and never underestimate the power of following one's dreams.

Michaela Penkler


*Abstract link*