Emerging Creatives

Looking for your creative break? Look no further than the annual Emerging Creatives programme presented by Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture.

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Meet the Emerging Creatives Class of 2019 

The Emerging Creatives Programme presented by Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture provides support, education and mentoring for South Africa's future designers.

Applications for the 2019 iteration officially opened on 1 June 2018.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has helped launch the careers of celebrated and vibrant young designers such as Laduma Ngxokolo, Katherine-Mary Pichulik, Daniel Ting Chong and Andile Dyalvane.

What the programme did and is still doing for my business I could have never imagined. – Abongile Gwele, Apples & Oranges (2016)

Meet some of the Emerging Creatives:


The Emerging Creatives programme is a developmental platform for young creatives who have relatively little industry exposure. Design Indaba established the Emerging Creatives programme in 2005 because of a strong belief in nurturing this new creative talent and knocking down the barriers to entry for those just getting started.

With the fundamental changes in the media landscape and the local design industry, we have endeavoured to make the programme even more relevant in the South African context. Architects, fashion designers, illustrators, furniture designers or jewellers – all sectors are welcome and participants are selected based on the quality and originality of their work and its ability to stand alongside world-class designs.

The programme provides the opportunity to be inspired by the best designers in the world and the selected participants will get to meet leaders in the local and international design industry. Their work will be showcased to retail buyers and media nationally and internationally, and the programme gives support, mentorship and guidance in how to manage and grow small businesses.

The 2019 Emerging Creatives programme will be two-tiered, which will have a wider national footprint and which will also allow more creatives to participate in varying capacities. 

If your application was successful and you were chosen to be a Design Indaba 2019 Emerging Creative, you receive the following**:

Emerging Creatives: Main Class of 2019

Applications for the main class of 2019 (which will be hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but sourced from all over South Africa) closed at midnight on 10 September 2018. A total of 50 participants were selected from entries received by this deadline. This group will be subject to the full Emerging Creatives programme, including attending the Simulcast, attending the workshop, exhibiting at the Cape Town venue, as well as attending the prestigious Design Indaba social networking events.**

  • Workshop and support opportunities

  • Return flights to Cape Town from your home city and accommodation for the duration of Design Indaba Festival 2019

  • Tickets to attend the Design Indaba Simulcast

  • Exhibition and display of your work as a part of the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town (T’s & C’s apply)

  • A profile on designindaba.com in the Designer Directory

  • A year of prolonged national and international media exposure including online video, web articles and social media post


Applications were sourced until 10 September 2018 and will feature only candidates from their home city of Johannesburg. Successful applicants will attend the Simulcast in Johannesburg and exhibit their work at the venue.

  • Support opportunities

  • Tickets to attend the Design Indaba Simulcast in your home city

  • An exhibition of your work (T’s & C’s apply)

  • A profile on designindaba.com in the Designer Directory

  • A year of prolonged national and international media exposure including online video, web articles and social media posts.

** The above benefits are subject to the sponsorship funding received for the programme.


Criteria for Entry:

  • Applications are open to current or recent graduate students who have graduated from a tertiary institute within the last two years

  • Emerging Creatives is primarily a student programme, therefore preference will be given to applicants between the ages of 18 – 30 years old. If, however, you have changed career paths and are a mature student or novice just entering the industry, you are still welcome to apply

  • If already working within the design industry, applicants must not have had an established business for more than 12 months at the time of applying

  • Applications are open to South African citizens only

  • Products must be created and manufactured in South Africa

  • Past Emerging Creatives may not re-apply for entry. (Unless you participated in the 2017 second tier programme)

  • 50 participants were selected to exhibit in Cape Town and 10 more participants were selected to exhibit at LISOF, Johannesburg. 

Meet the class of 2019

Brought to you by

  • Department of Arts and Culture

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