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David Tshabalala on the (D)ictionary of cool





David Tshabalala is an accomplished designer, Illustrator and co-owner of Suketchi, a design collective with an online store. The leader of Instabitions describes his style modestly as “pop, fun and refreshing”. Highly influenced by the 90’s era, it is with no surprise that his work displays a vast amount of beautiful blends and balances of bright colours.

We caught up with the Johannesburg based creator to talk specifically about his most recent collection of work called “(D)ictionary of cool.”




Lethabo Ngakane: Firstly, what was the inspiration behind the (D)ictionary of cool Series and who is it for?

David Tshabalala: In the bigger scheme of things, the series is part of a body of work I want to include in my self-published book. I’m also going to do a limited range of tees with the artwork. This series is for lovers and fans of design and illustrations and it’s an ode to topics and trends that I consider “Cool”.




Lethabo Ngakane: What do you intend on achieving with this project? What’s the bigger picture?

David Tshabalala: It’s a prelude to a body of work I want to exhibit next year and it’s also a way for me to share my work with people who love consuming it. That is very important me.

original pray

LN: How has the general feedback been so far?

DT: The feedback has been amazing. I take the “likes” and “shares” as a sign of how many people actually dig the work and with that; I can measure what people like and dislike.




LN: How do you avoid the politics of “cool”? Surely some people will contest your personal opinion and mediation of it.

DT: My work will always be a visualised personal opinion and  I welcome that it may become open to criticism. I actually haven’t avoided the politics of cool if you look at my Trump “WTF” piece. I don’t actually avoid the politics.




LN: What is the common denominator amongst all the thought leaders that you have chosen to document/celebrate in this project?


DT: The common denominator is that these are people that I consider influencers in the purest form, not dictated by the number of followers or the brands they collaborate with.  A large part of my work focuses on current events and I translate that in fun exciting way, leveraging off the power of social media.

LN: I have to say, I admire your ability to develop art and content that is relevant to our times, where do you get the time to be so responsive to what is current within pop culture?

DT: Thanks!! I make time after hours. On average; I sleep at 01:00 AM. I’ve also developed a style and technique that makes my process faster, where I finish an image within 2 hours max. I also sacrifice things like just watching series or just chilling by using the time to share my work with my audience. 40% of this audience becomes my clients, so it’s a long-term form of building up a database as well.

Words By: Lethabo Ngakane


Check out more of his work on Instagram!



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What is an NFT? A fad or here to stay?

In this article we explore the world of None-Fungible Tokens and how you can benefit from this latest digital “craze”.



Photo Credit: Redline l by Milad B

The fact that the digital economy is growing so fast means that we can now create value and substantial profit through our creativity; the current technological landscape has created more opportunities for people like you and me to align our chakras, unleash our ultimate creative selves, and possibly make millions of rands overnight. It’s probably less complicated than boiling an egg or more complex than baking your own croissants while reading a copy of “POPI act for dummies”…But before you get excited and start manifesting your profound piece of digital art, allow me to try and simplify/explain what NFTs are, how they work, and ideas of how you can benefit from them.

The latest buzzword seems so confusing and complicated, lucrative and intimidating…more cryptic than crypto and even more perplexing than blockchain, but I assure you that these terms are really simple, well kind of.  

An NFT is a Non-Fungible Token, but what does fungible mean in the first place? Let’s get into it.

Fungible VS Non-fungible?

Fungible is an adjective that refers to something that cannot be distinguished from another thing, it is interchangeable, substitutable or uniform; For example, If I lend you a R10 note and you pay me back as either two R5 coins or another R10 note I won’t mind because it still has the same value as the R10 I gave you.

In the same way, one bar of gold must be tradable or exchangeable for another bar of gold, or two bars that are half the size and weight. Still with me? Great!

Examples of fungible goods include oil, bonds, gold and other precious metals, money, and unopened items of consumer products on store shelves such as boxes of cereal. 

They possess fungibility if they have identical value and properties of other items; Once you damage or crack that box of Weetbix open, it’s over, it’s no longer of the same value as an unopened/undamaged box, it is then no longer….you guessed it! Fungible.

Non-Fungible is the opposite in that, Assets like diamonds, land, or baseball cards have unique qualities that add or subtract value. 

NFT(non-fungible token) in its most overly simplified terms,  attributes ownership of a digital property/asset to one single person. It certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent digital files such as photos, videos, audio etc.

An image displaying None-Fungible assets such as front row vs back row tickets.

NFTs are made to give you ownership of the work although in some cases the artist can opt to retain the copyright and reproduction rights (hint,hint).

So What’s the fuss?

Well it’s simple for reasons that we might not yet comprehend at this tender stage of the game, that just like a physical art piece the true value is in the original, and essentially the more it is replicated/copied and subsequently popularised, the more the original increases in value. 

“NFTs can work like any other speculative asset, where you buy it and hope that the value of it goes up one day, so you can sell it for a profit” 

anyone can sell their digital work as an NFT  most notably the sale of Beeple’s “Every Days – The first 5000 days” sold for $69 million, and an animated Gif of Nyan Cat (a 2011 meme) was sold for more than $500,000.

every Days -The first 5000 days by Beeple
Every Days -The first 5000 days by Beeple

So what are you waiting for? Go design a uniquely absurd Jpg or rally up your ultra cool high-school friends to record a one of a kind comeback album, get all your friends and  family to hype it up, get the streets talking and journalists typing frantically on all digital mediums, hailing you for your ground breaking creativity and hey…you might just quit your 9-5 forever and all thanks to the invention of NFTs.

Now that you are suited, booted and want to “tokenize” your genius idea, it’s important to know where you can upload your work and start raking in the big bucs.

There are several marketplaces that were created around the selling and buying of NFTs.  These include OpenSea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, and recently a South African platform called Momint.

Anyone with an internet connection, marketing hype, creativity and access to a desired program or software can become the next overnight billionaire. You, reading this now could change your fortunes from where you sit. 

So don’t let the big terms spook you out, read a little,  live a little, create your art, upload it, put a value on it and let the rest happen. 

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South African Illustrator imnk talks about empathy, improvision and the imagination behind his art.



His name is imnk and his Instagram profile unflinchingly reads: “Africa is not a jungle”. This South African illustrator is undoubtedly an artist’s artist known for his ethereal imagination and his distinct style with a fineliner. imnk has found a way to ingeniously communicate social ills and realities through his unworldly style of art, especially in his latest series. We caught a moment with him, to find out more about the man behind the art.

One word that describes you?

That’s probably the hardest question for me to answer. There is no one word I could come up with that would encapsulate me. So for a lack of a better word, “Me”

Where are you from?

I come from a place called Ekangala, Bronkhorstspruit. But I also call Pretoria home.

How did you get into illustrating and how can you describe your journey?

It has been quite a journey. I knew I would do something in the creative field, my dad was an artist (painter and Sculptor) and my biggest influence. I have always known how to draw. I thought I would be a painter but I did Design in high school.

It has been quite a journey. I knew I would do something in the creative field, my dad was an artist (painter and Sculptor) and my biggest influence. I have always known how to draw. I thought I would be a painter but I did Design in high school.

Illustration became a happy medium between Fine Arts and the Advertising / Marketing field. Illustration still combines the creative ideation that is prevalent in Advertising and drawing which is more fine Arts.


How long have you been in the game?

I’ve been in the game since I painted my shoes yellow in primary school and made my friends pay me to do theirs.

What has inspired your recent work?

The main inspiration was the plight of women. I think one of the most essential tools one has to have as a person living in 2019 is the ability to put yourself in someone’s position and think of how they feel.

How long does it take for you to complete one of these spectacular works of art?

The time I take to complete a drawing depends. There are a lot of variables that will influence the duration. But I try to do it in 2 weeks normally. But it could take more time it could be less.

The time I take to complete a drawing depends. There are a lot of variables that will influence the duration. But I try to do it in 2 weeks normally. It could take more time or it could be less.


What medium do you use and can you also describe your creative process?

My favourite medium is Fineliner. I hate graphite because it can get dirty. I favour Finliners because it’s a little less forgiving with mistakes. I like the improvisation and creativity that you have to do when navigating a mistake.

I keep my process very simple. 70% of it happens in my head. I can take 2 weeks trying to solve it in my head. Once I sit down, I normally don’t want to figure much out, I want to sit down and execute. Most of my ideas come from the environment around me. That’s what I prefer documenting.


How can our readers get to experience more of your work?

I am active on social media. Facebook Imnk Nkululeko and imnk_1713 on Instagram and I’m working on a kool ass website.

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10 Oppikoppi Camping Essentials for first timers



Written by Lethabo Ngakane

There’s only 10 days to go before Oppikoppi – one of Africa’s best 3-day music festivals. This year Oppikoppi spots a different variety of locally sourced live acts on their line-up, that are most likely to attract a horde of first-time Oppikoppi campers.

Since I have been to this festival a few times, I know how it feels to be under preprared and overwhelmed by the unexpected; I have created a camping checklist to ensure that you have the essentials sorted before you head to the dust!

1. Camping Tent

This is a pretty obvious one, but the trick here is to ensure that you buy the correct size tent, for instance it’s better to buy a 4 man tent for two people to ensure that you have enough room for sleeping, changing and storing personal belongings.

2. Sleeping Mat

A sleeping mat is one of the most important items if you really want to have a comfortable nights sleep and avoid the cold ground at night. An air mattress is lightweight but has superior comfort levels as compared to the standard sleeping mat or bag.

3. Camp Site

Arrive at the campsite early so that you can find the most convenient space before it gets crowded, It’s always wise to have a campsite large enough for your friends to join you too.

4. Light up your life

It gets very dark at night and you are most likely to get lost while travelling to and from your campsite at night, so do it right by making sure that you have a torch or headlamp to help you get around, and don’t forget to have more batteries for back up.

5. Hygene

It’s important to keep clean and fresh on a daily basis because the heat, sweat and boozing can give off a rather unpleasant smell. The festival has public showers and wipes also help keep you fresh and clean. Bring some hand sanitizer too, it gets pretty wild out there.

6. Food

Festival food can be pretty expensive or not cater to your dietary needs so it’s always smart to pack none perishable foods to sustain you for the duration of the festival.

7. Stay Charged Up

Since this is your first experience, You will probably want to take lots of pictures and videos to share with your friends and followers, so it is important that you stay charged up with a fully charged power bank or two.

8. Keep it cool

Make sure you stock up on ice blocks from the festival so that you can keep your beverages and some foods cool all the time. So don’t forget that Coolerbox.

9. Know the rules

Although Oppi is one of the most fun and free events to attend, it also comes with its rules, so make sure you get acquainted with rules before heading into the dust.

10. Clear the ground and keep it clean

Make sure that you clear the ground you will camp on, making sure that there are no sharp objects or stones. Not only will these damage your tent but they will be uncomfortable to sleep on. Don’t forget to clean up before you leave, respect nature and leave it as it was!


Next week we will be giving you cool tips on how to survive #Oppikoppi #Nomakanjani like a pro! So remember to follow us on social media or join our newsletter to stay in tune.

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Meet Kornilios Victoria: Behind The Muffin Man



Written By Lethabo Ngakane

It’s been over a year since I first came across Kornilios’ work online, those who know me, know that I am one to get easily bored and I hate repetition…which is the case with most artists who have found their “style”…not this one  though. A firm observer of social media culture; Kornilios’ work is constantly changing from digital paintings all the way to abstract pieces of art which all seem to have the same theme which is meticulously communicated and embedded in different phases and styles. He has branded his work through colours and characters such as The Muffin Man and although no two works are the same, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to identify his work and his stroke of genius. We caught up with Kornilios on the high speeding streets of the internet and had a chat to find out more about the mystique behind the character and the work.

Who is Kornilios Victoria?

I’ve been told Kornilios is the visual artist version of J.Cole just before he released Sideline Story. So let’s just run with that…

Where are you from and how did you get started in your field?

I’m from Pretoria and I’ve always been into art and design from a young age. It’s hard to pinpoint how I got started but some years ago I decided it should be something to do full time because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Over the years we have seen the Muffin Man Concept grow on social media and other spaces, could you tell us who the muffin man is and what is the goal with this complex character/story?

The Muffin Man is a character who serves as a satirical idol of contemporary issues of identity, lifestyle and beauty. I would like to leave it to the audience to decide what kind of personality she has and what she stands for and what she has accomplished.

Your style seems to cover a lot of approaches from painting, pop art,3D, illustrations and some abstract work, what is the motive behind that?

I’d like to think that it tells a better story, a multi-dimensional view of a story helps you to connect with it better.

Can you tell us more about the exhibition?

Well, the main intention was to present this as primarily an online exhibition. I think it creates a more interesting form of engagement between the artwork and the audience; I’d like to think that it also breaks a few barriers between the artist and viewer and it serves as an interesting format to tell a story considering that most of us spend a lot of our time online.

What should we expect from the exhibition?

Well, what I personally expected from this exhibition has already been achieved; once again I’ll leave it to the audience to decide what that is.

Your work is extremely well branded, from the tone of the posts and the blue and magenta hues in the artwork (to name the obvious few), what was the main intention behind this?

Thank you, I suppose it has become a habit, designers are trained to present ideas a certain way and I believe it will come across in the way they present everything else they make. Whether it’s artwork or an omelette.

What are some of the hardships that an artist of your nature faces in your industry?

I think all industries are tough in some manner so I won’t go too deep about what keeps me up at night, but I believe that for most creatives, especially introverted ones such as me, the challenge is to get hold of the business aspect of it. We spend years trying to grow creatively and to be asked to forget all that for a moment and think about how it is a product to be sold like a microwave oven is …eish


What other interesting projects are you working on or have worked on?

What I’m working on is top secret for now. Projects I’ve worked on before including a taxi decal design with the SA Taxi Foundation some time ago and it was pretty cool.

Do you have artwork for sale and how can people get their hands on it?

Prints will be made available soon along with information on how to get hold of them in an easy and convenient manner, but I’m always available for commissions.


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Zakifo 2017 -A Weekend of electrifying live performances and chilled vibes



The third annual Zakifo Music Festival took place at Blue Lagoon this year and as always it promised to be an epic festival for eclectic music lovers.

It was an unusually cold weekend in Durban for the 3 days of the festival but people came out nevertheless to experience a world-class line-up. The lineup worked to solidify one of the festival’s intentions which are to showcase a cross-cultural exchange of artists. The set up consisted of two main stages and we could go from one stage to another as soon as the acts on one stage were done and the other stage lit up.

Friday night started off with the classical and jazz sounds of Jobie Clarke who welcomed us all with a calming spirit and a set that made us all look forward to what would follow. Lu Dlamini followed with a mesmerising performance that got most people standing and moving slowly to her smooth and graceful sound. As soon as Lu Dlamini’s set ended the next stage started luring people to it with the soft sounds of percussion instruments and people started gravitating towards it.

By the time Thandiswa Mazwai’s unmistakable voice echoed on the  Blue Lagoon grounds the amount of people who were on the grounds had doubled. She was undoubtedly the headline artist for the night as the grounds filled up and the audience sang along to her Xhosa rhythms and swayed to the jazz and funk sounds provided by her band.

Ray Phiri went on next hitting everybody with a bit of nostalgia with his iconic jazz set delivered with the energy of a young man at heart.

Baloji culminated the night with his charismatic raps and afrocentric Hiphop instrumentals that had the crowd dancing throughout his set.

Saturday evening had the likes of Bongeziwe Mabandla, Gangs Of Ballet, Nova Twins, Tiggs Da Author, Birdy Nam Nam and The Soil sharing the two different stages. Throughout the evening one could dance to an eclectic range of sounds from Hiphop, Jazz, Grime, Soul and heavy Urban Punk. It was The Soil who slowed things down with their acapella set and ultimately stole the show that night. It felt like the crowd was singing along to every lyric with their hands in the air in unity. Tey truly delivered a stellar performance, one that everyone seemed to talk about even after they had left the stage.


Sundays festival activities started early with Durban based electronic Dj and producer Missu who eased the crowd into the performance of Durban Duo Easy Freak. Easy Freak welcomed the crowd to the last day of the festival with a mix of rock, funk and electro. They were followed by the Sax Machine from the USA, Kommanda Obbs from Lesotho, Jojo Abot from Ghana and our very own Petite Noir. Petite Noirs set boasted a broad range of sounds which were a trip sonically because of how borderless yet endemic they were.

As soon as the lights went off on the first stage where Petite was performing everyone gravitated to the quiet stage where a man waving a flag around stood. Everyone stood in excitement as they waited for the crown jewel of the festival Damian Marley to grace the stage. The band started with an instrumental intro that was a build up that eventually bought out Damian Marley. The grounds were the most packed that I had seen them since the festival started. Damian Marley started chanting in a powerful voice and the crowd seemed to chant with him. Throughout his set, he moved from his loud songs all the way to his soft ones all with the full attention of the crowd. It was the perfect way to close off the festival. Almost every genre of music was covered at the festival and it seemed everyone’s musical taste was catered too.

Words by: Nana Sokhulu

Photography By: Rejoice Kunene


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