In light of June 16th, we are paying homage to the youth, the next generation of our country. These are the local creatives under 25 that have caught our attention.

June 16th is a dark day in the minds of South Africans. On this day in 1976, students in Soweto gathered to protest the law that introduced Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools. Some 20,000 students were present by the afternoon, singing protest songs and waving posters.

Sadly, the gathering turned violent as police suddenly opened fire on the group of students – and eventually ended up killing a large number of youths. The number of deaths at the time was believed to be 176, but it’s now estimated that the figure was, in fact, closer to 700. The image of 13-year-old Hector Pietersen dying in Mbuyisa Makhubo’s arms became the symbol of brutality within the apartheid regime.

In order to prevent history from repeating itself, South Africans must never stop talking about the atrocities of apartheid. Additionally, as a society, we must ensure we are doing all we can to guarantee equal opportunities for the youth – the next generation that will receive the baton of this country. These are the young talents we’re watching out for – and suggest you do, too.

Tony Gum, 23

Visual artist, photographer, Vogue’s ‘Coolest Girl in Cape Town’ – there’s seemingly nothing that Tony Gum can’t do. Her first solo exhibition at Christopher Moller Gallery – Ode to she –  was simply groundbreaking. It comprised the artist’s famed self-portraits where she is photographed in traditional Xhosa attire, but holds modern props, like a cellphone and makeup brushes.

Intombi I / #tonygumcalling

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Koleka Putuma, 25

Through her poems, Koleka Putuma tackles patriarchy and everyday challenges that women (and women of colour, in particular) face. She’s smart, quick-witted and undoubtedly has her finger on the pulse. If you’re looking for a new woke guide, Putuma is it.

Banele Khoza, 24

This is a no-brainer. If you’re paying attention to the art scene, you will already know Banele Khoza’s name. We are constantly enthralled by this trailblazer. His most recent work at the Zeitz MOCAA examines the connection between relationships and social media, as well as how men and the concept of masculinity fit into this narrative of love and companionship.

Zeitz MOCAA’s Curatorial Lab invites you the opening 'LGBTQI+ Banele Khoza', an exhibition of Banele Khoza’s – @bkhz abstract and figurative paintings. . Khoza’s figurative abstraction depicts colourful portraits of the male nude – obscure ghostly figures in a palette of mostly pink and blue. The acrylic pigments are combined and blurred together in fervent brushstrokes that seem to be applied with acute sensitivity, but also a sense of the uninhibited. They bleed and drip into empty spaces, while pencil sketch marks reveal compositional form. . Wednesday, 11 April 2018, 7 – 9 pm. Curatorial Lab, Level 1, @zeitzmocaa RSVP: Email @sakhigcina on . #ZeitzMOCAALGBTQI #ZeitzMOCAACuratorialLab #ZeitzMOCAAExhibitions #BaneleKhoza #CoCreateSA

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Masonwabe Ntloko, 20

This Cape Town-based graphic designer is unequivocally the coolest of the cool, but his work reveals more substance than simply a well-curated Instagram feed. In 2012 he was diagnosed with optic nerve failure, which has affected his eyesight and sensitivity to light. Instead of allowing the diagnosis to dictate his life, he’s used it to depict a new outlook on the world. In his personal blog, he writes “I struggled with this for years but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to change my attitude about this and focus all of that energy into something positive (My Art). By virtue of this, I came up with my low-poly textile illustrations.”

I M A G I N E #ps_wanderlast

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Stephanie Mzee, 21

Already something of a household name in design circles, visual artist Stephanie Mzee all but stole the Emerging Creatives show at this year’s Design Indaba. Undoubtedly one of the most talented local creatives under 25, her photographic exhibition – where is the ME in media? – cleverly and poignantly challenges the representation of black women in media.

Ben Orkin, 19

Featured in our current issue, Ben Orkin (or by his moniker Neb Nikro – his name spelled backward) has won us over with his fun and imaginative ceramic works. The sculptor-slash-ceramicist-slash-former-food-blogger finds inspiration everywhere (from his Jewish upbringing to the organic environment that surrounds him) and creates the most charming and remarkable pieces.

New piece at @chandlerhousect as part of their rain dance show

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Tiaan Beukes, 22

Is he a jewellery designer? Does he make furniture? The reason that Joburg-based Tiaan Beukes caught our eye is that he’s all of the above (and more). Having studied jewellery design at Stellenbosch, he made a name for himself with his dramatic pieces made from reclaimed imbuia. At this year’s Design Indaba, he further spread his wings by creating a chair out of puzzle-like pieces, which has propelled him into a new world of design.

Another piece on a friend @funeral_host Photos: @pierre_rommelaere

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Sinomonde Ngwane, 22

This young gun has used her creative power to encourage catharsis. In 2016 she created a colouring book to help adults destress using colour therapy, and in 2017 she began #DearDiarySeries, where complete strangers confess their innermost secrets to her and she illustrates and shares the story on Instagram: