Designer and co-founder of design house Suketchi, David Tshabalala, shares how he honours and profiles the women of today during Women’s Month.
Who is David? I’m a 27 year old Graphic Designer & Illustrator from South Africa. I draw inspiration (pun intended) from the world and people around me. I grew up in a small town called Harrismith in the Free State. The need for me to further my career has led me to settle and hustle in Johannesburg. My style is pop-inspired, fun and refreshing. I’m influenced by 90s-era fashion and bright colours set against a blank canvas. I’m not boxed in by certain mediums, and I’m constantly reinventing my technique.
What have been the highlights in your career so far? Last year I was chosen as one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans. I was a nominee in the Best Young Gun Category for The Bookmark Awards on behalf of SoulProviders in 2014. In 2013 I was chosen as one of 40 Emerging Creatives at Design Indaba and was a finalist on Creative Union. The reality TV show was about mentorship for creatives in entrepreneurship.
Tell us about the Run the World Instabition? During Women’s Month I illustrate 31 Women; 1 illustration per day, over the course of the entire month of August. These are a combination of women I’ve met and they’ve left me inspired after our conversations about projects that they are busy with small and big, some I’ve never met before but I follow them closely on digital platforms and I feed off their energy through their blogs and I enjoy the content they share and create. I didn’t select them based on their CV’s or popularity, but rather, how they influence me personally regardless of their accolades and achievements.
Why undertake this project? I wanted to do something with real purpose and self-initiated but not necessarily profit-driven. Women’s Month served as the perfect platform for me to create something with meaning that resonates with every South African. People usually commemorate Women’s Month by reflecting on our past and struggles, rather than the present and future, which is what I’ve done by profiling our women of today.
How is the project taken to the public? Having done my research, I think Instagram is the fastest growing digital platform currently and it’s a breath of fresh air. And the word “Instabition” just sounds so good! It also offers a kind of exclusivity and peace that Twitter or Facebook can’t provide. I used the other bigger and established digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to my instagram profile: @slaying.goliath.
As a young designer you recently started your own creative and design agency, Suketchi and seem to be doing well in terms of financial sustainability and relevance in today’s age. What advise, or pearls of wisdom, can you offer young people who have ambitions of being entrepreneurs? Practice your craft every day. Identify a mentor to guide your decision- making. Network, go out and meet the right people who can help you out in your field of work.
This feature appeared in the Kagiso Trust’s monthly magazine