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Introducing Ackeem Ngwenya

Introducing Ackeem Ngwenya

Ask Ackeem Ngwenya what “kind” of designer he is and he will skirt around the ques- tion with a smile. “I do all different things. Sometimes it’s furniture. Sometimes it’s a website. Sometimes it’s social impact or product design. It doesn’t have to be in a specif- ic genre, it just needs to be inspiring.”

Ackeem has always loved design. From a young age,
Tally shelf 2.jpg

Tally Shelf by Ackeem Ngwenya

he was most content with a pencil in his hand and a sketchpad in front of him. He took this passion with him as he grew up, moving from his birth town of Diepsloot to Malawi to Johannesburg and finally, down to Cape Town.
Ackeem Ngwenya himself

Next came Frank Joubert Art School and a jewellery design degree at Stellenbosch University. But he soon realised that his heart wasn’t in it. So he went to Germany where his mind was opened to unlikely materials and alternative thinking.

International exposure made him realise he wanted more of a vision. But what was it? His light bulb moment came back in 2010.

Katschi by Ackeem Ngwenya

“I was at the Design Indaba and this architect walked on stage. Alejandro (Aravena). He spoke about using creativity for positive social impact and I got very excited.”

This is what Ngwenya realised he wanted to do: he wanted to pursue design that made a difference.Old Grand Dad.jpg

Old Grand Dad by Ackeem Ngwenya

So he went to the UK to study a degree in Innovation Design Engineering, a course with a strong focus on solving real world problems. This was the birth- place of the work he is most proud of: “Roadless”.

“Roadless” was developed as part of his Masters and addresses rural transportation.( Instead of trying to change the road quality, he looked at adapting the tyre. And, coming full circle from that pivotal day in 2010, he presented this idea at the Design Indaba 2015.

Brauerei 2.jpg
Brauerei 02 by Ackeem Ngwenya

Today, he explores whatever creative territory his ideas take him to. One such place is a collaboration with Stable. As a raw talent that adds to a truly South African design discourse, Ackeem quickly caught Stable’s attention. He’s now working with Stable to take his first furniture range to the market. And, considering Ackeem’s unique design eye, it promises to be very impressive range indeed.

The collection will be available in the next few months.

By - Joanna Court
Respected copywriter and design lover out of Cape Town, South Africa.

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