If you’re looking for your creative break, this one’s for you. 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. 

ELLE Deco SA

The Emerging Creatives programme was started in 2005 by Design Indaba inspired by their strong belief in nurturing new creative talent, and their desire to give young designers a developmental platform for exposure.

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.

Selected participants will get to meet design industry leaders and have their work showcased to retail buyers and media from around the world. In addition to this, they’ll be given supportmentorship and guidance in how to manage and grow small businesses.

What the programme did and is still doing for my business I could have never imagined.

– Abongile Gwele, Apples & Oranges (2016)

Find out more about some of our Emerging Creatives alumni and what they have been up to since launching their careers.


 Emerging Creatives FAQs

Criteria for Entry:

  • Applications are open to current students and recent graduates (must have graduated from a tertiary institute within the last two years).
  • Applications are open to those with no tertiary studies as well, granted that the reason for application is justified.
  • Emerging Creatives is primarily a student programme, therefore preference will be given to applicants between the ages of 17 – 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 accepted from South African citizens only.
  • Products must be created and manufactured in South Africa.

If I am accepted, what is included?

If your application is successful and you are chosen to be a Design Indaba 2017 Emerging Creative, you may receive the following**:

Emerging Creatives: Class of 2017

Applications for the main class of 2017 (which will be hosted in Cape Town) closes at midnight on 31 October 2016. A total of 40 participants will be 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.**

  • Mentorship and support opportunities
  • Return flights to Cape Town and accommodation for the duration of Design Indaba Festival 2017, with a daily stipend
  • Tickets to watch Design Indaba Simulcast
  • Attendance to a physical workshop in February and a second online workshop later in the year
  • The opportunity to showcase your work at the Design Indaba Conference (T’s & C’s apply)
  • An exhibition of your work
  • 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

Emerging Creatives: Extended Class of 2017

Applications for the extended class will be sourced until 25 November 2016 and will feature only candidates from Johannesburg and Durban. Successful applicants will attend the Simulcast in their home city, and they will exhibit their work there as well.

  • Mentorship and support opportunities
  • A daily stipend for exhibition days only at Johannesburg or Durban Venue
  • Tickets to watch Design Indaba Simulcast in your home city
  • An exhibition of your work
  • A profile on designindaba.com in the Designer Directory

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

All images courtesy of Design Indaba


Liked This?

Then you may want to read Inspiration Top Up: The Jealous Curator and Meet Laurence Leenaert Of Marrakesh

For More Design Inspiration

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram 


The Africa Issue is a celebration of the future of design in Africa and its potential to drive change. We explore the concept of ‘Africaness’, what this means for our aesthetic. We also  dream big with bedroom inspiration and take you on a tour of homes that truly embrace the spirit of the continent. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #AfricaIssue.