Mzwandile Buthelezi

Mzwandile Buthelezi is a child of Soweto who found his cultural home in hip-hop on Jo’burg’s grungy streets in the 1990s. Graffiti afforded him the space to grow his artistic talent and find his voice as a socially conscious youth. With time, the attention to lettering and shading required by street art translated into a love for fonts and the digital colour palette employed by graphic designers. To augment his natural talent Buthelezi attained a National Graphic Design Diploma from the University of Johannesburg. Five years ago, 32-year-old Buthelezi decided to open his own design agency, Satta Design. Commitment and courage paid off and he has secured a reliable client base — a mix of big corporates and smaller entities. The flexibility of being his own boss allows him the time to focus on raising his two-year-old son. In partnership with Wandile Msomi, Buthelezi is art director of Funisu Skateboards, a local brand that uses design to foster a culture of Afrocentrism in the skateboarding world. Their work gained international attention and was featured in the book Inside the World of Board Graphics. Buthelezi, who is committed to growing authentic African design styles, continues to travel around the continent to build networks of creative people committed to using design to make a positive change. In recognition of his presence on the African design scene he was selected as one of only four artists from the continent to create artwork for the Absolut Blank vodka international campaign. Guided to this day by the authentic hip-hop culture of “each one teach one”, Buthelezi is an arts facilitator at the Kgantsa ho Ganye after-school programme in Orlando West. He also contributes his time and craft to Liberty Asia, a network of non-governmental organisations in Asia committed to the fight against human trafficking. — Taryn Mackay