The Future Is Now: Illustrated By 3 Local Emerging Artists

And we are all going to be part of this joyous revolution.

Our March cover features the young, dynamic trifecta that is RhaRha, Manthe Ribane and Nonku Phiri. These young women are shaping the future of art, fashion and design in South Africa media and beyond, through technology and innovation. This cover, according to you as our readers, is one that champions representation.

On representation, which we feel is important to speak about when talking about this cover, is that you don’t realize the lack of it until you bare witness to someone that looks like you on the front cover of a magazine or on a billboard or TV screen and then it dawns on you, that that’s what has been missing. Someone like you. Built like you. Strange like you. Artistic like you. Outspoken like you.

Three young women of colour, emerging artists and future shapers in their own right, created their interpretations of our March cover and this, if anything, truly speaks to the power of relating to the people that one looks up to, in this case, our cover stars.  We are amazed by these beautiful illustrations and wanted the artists to share their thoughts about their present and future.

Meet Nokwanda Themba(NT), Keabetswe Makhooane(KM) and Ofentse Aobakwe(OA)

Illustration: Ofentse Aobakwe

Illustration by Nokwanda Themba

Illlustration by: Keabetwe Makhooane

1. What is your favourite thing about this cover?

NT: The regal and boldly beautiful nature of the brown women featured on the cover. They all possess such intense magical aura, which is easily transcended through the photograph.
KM: My favourite this is that it celebrates black women creatives, and that’s a major key for someone like me. (Also, I’ve got a huge girl crush on Manthe Ribane.)
OA: “What you call an icon living’?” are the first words that played in my mind from Jaden’s Icon when I first saw this cover drop. My favourite thing is how these women I’m learning about are captured in their most natural essence, not even trying to pose but so statuesque in their being.

2. Tell us about your illustration, your method and medium? 

OA: With lack of representation when it comes to Black Goddesses, I thought to create my own, without the greek mythology aesthetic. I needed to bring sonic and visual essence through the artwork, which makes sense of the textures, patterns & colour scheme I used. I decided to go digital as the issue is based on the future, leading the way in art design & technology.

NT:  I intended for my illustration to have a minimalistic nature, and faceless. There is something drawing and interestingly vague about faceless women. It asks: “Who are you?Are you, you?”

My medium of work is watercolour, compressed charcoal and fine liner. I begin by drawing outlines of the figures and start. painting, paying attention to shades and tones, all of which is a flowing process.
KM:  I saw the cover and I knew I had to do something. I usually do Linocut prints but felt the need to try something knew but still remain true to the layering techniques of printmaking.

3. As a woman of colour and an artist, how does representation in media affect you?

KM:  As a little girl I’ve always wanted to see people like me, I wanted the world to acknowledge us as intelligent and beautiful, as creatives and intellectuals. I’ve always known that black girls are magic but I just wanted it to be said , loudly, for the people at the back.

OA:  I’m a woman first, then black, then lastly an artist. Representation in the media, in that order, is essential to me because woman empowerment is what opens doors for me to break boundaries. Black ethnicity acceptance is what elevates my sense of belonging when I manifest truth. & Artistry equality is what makes me unapologetically express. There is honestly enough space for representation in every form of medium.

NT:  It is deeply important. We take likely how representation through media affects our self-esteem and self-confidence. As brown women we need representation of all kinds that speaks to each unique face and body.

4. What are you most excited about to be in this industry in 2018?

NT: Growing, perfecting my gift, inspiring others and using my gift to ball out

KM: I’m excited about changing things, not sticking to one creative medium, seeing more black people taking what’s theirs and owning it.

OA: There is still a lot of recognition and acknowledge meant to be given to the African continent in this industry. Yet what most excites me is that we are embodying that fact that minimalism waters down our cultures and vibrancy. As people of colour, we are owning our ideas and are not afraid to collaborate and reach into the big leagues. We’re global.

and lastly…

5. The future…

“For us, by, us”


“The future is what it is destined to be. As the saying goes, “que sera sera” (what will be will be)”


“The future is female, easily”

And we couldn’t have said it better ourselves –  we live in a time where the way in which define ourselves is the one thing we ought to hold on to, especially when it comes to expressing it through our craft. Here’s to the future and all the femmes who are shaping it.