You didn’t have to live in the Northern Hemisphere as a child to believe that a perfect Christmas was one covered in snow with an old, bearded man, in red and white, dragging a big sack of presents. For young South African illustrator Sinalo Ngcaba, Christmas was a little different. In her Christmas card series, she reimagines a festive season that looked more like what she woke up to.
Ngcaba recently sent her family and friends Christmas cards that combine a Western holiday with influences from the South African women and street culture that she grew up around.
“I merged Western culture with African culture to make it relatable and more understandable,” she explains.
When she’s not caught up in festive cheer and BakersTM Choice Assorted Biscuits (that have also become synonymous with a South African Christmas), she adds a weekly playlist to Unlabelled Magazine’s page with artwork that complements the sound. In 2014, Spoek Mathambo’s band, Fantasma also enlisted her skills for one of their tracks from their first EP, "Eye of The Sun".
Ngcaba was raised by her grandmother, a great writer and storyteller. “She always told me about her background, which sparked my interest in the different African cultures that now influence my work”.
This year Ngcaba worked with Capetonian photographer Audrey Ndiweni whose striking work she believes the world should know about. 2012 Design Indaba Emerging Creative and graphic designer Atang Tshikare is also on the list of thinkers who’ve inspired her. “He’s an all-rounder who started off illustrating and has taught himself to sculpt among other things,” she adds.
With a formal education in communication, fashion and textile design, Ngcaba has settled on graphic design as the industry that best suits her interests, aptitude and African surroundings.