Sikhumbuzo Mtembu

Owner, Striation Architects

Sikhumbuzo Mtembu (33) is a young Durban architect who has made his mission to transform the face of public transport, particularly commuter rail.

As founder of Striation Architects he has put this plan into action after initially gaining valuable experience and exposure learning his trade.

His interest in this particular aspect of urban life was evident when he chose to base the thesis for his master’s degree in architecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on stations and transportation nodes.

His talent was equally apparent, with the design resulting from his thesis receiving the 2007 regional Corobrick Architect Student of the Year award.

Mtembu took this passion and talent into the industry where he joined Architectural Design Associates to design the substation building for the Bridge City Station, a new underground station near KwaMashu.

“Rail is a vital form of transport and our cities will not be sustainable in the near future without adequate public transport,” he says.

Apart from his commercial work, Mtembu is also involved in promoting and supporting the profession through his role as the head of the benefits subcommittee of the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture. He also sits on the international Young Architects Committee.

He believes there is a great need and scope to attract young black professionals into architecture and is actively involved in programmes to spread the word about the opportunities the profession presents.

In the meantime, Mtembu is working hard to build his business while implementing his vision for more people-friendly and integrated public transport spaces. They are essential, he believes, to encouraging South Africans to embrace new modes of transport and, through that, break down cultural and racial barriers that are encouraged by private transport.

“The more we are strangers to each other, the less we trust each other and the less coherent nation building will be.” — Johann Barnard