Xanele Puren

In her final year of studying visual communication design at Stellenbosch University, Xanele Puren was encouraged to use design to make a difference. When she visited crèches in the nearby township of Kayamandi and discovered there were no relevant books for the children to read, she realised how she could put her creativity to good use. Puren illustrated and designed three educational, bilingual books, and then took her creative activism a step further. She transformed dull, dreary- looking crèches inside and out by bringing traditional nursery rhymes, animals and imaginary worlds to life through bright paints and brilliant illustrations. At 22, after winning the Sappi “Ideas that Matter” award in 2010, she formalised her efforts into a social enterprise: See-Saw-Do. To date, See-Saw-Do has repainted 21 crèches and distributed 2 000 of Puren’s books. In addition to transforming the spaces where children learn and play, Puren is creating playgrounds in which their minds and imaginations can flourish.

— Lu Larche