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For Mthokozisi Hadebe, choosing the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to be his academic home is one of the best decisions of his life. 

Even though his academic journey in obtaining his diploma took him four years to complete, he proudly graduated with his National Diploma in Architectural Technology in 2013. 

However, Hadebe’s first year of study was a sad start, with the death of his mother in the first month of his study. He continued studying despite his personal loss, and with the guidance from his lecturers who believed in him. He is also grateful for the financial help that he had received  from the Office of the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal during his undergraduate years. His gratitude to the KZN Premier’s office greatly assisted Hadebe in paying for his tuition fees, accommodation and meals in his 2012 academic year.   

Upon completing his National Diploma, Hadebe followed his new passion of being an entrepreneur in the clothing business. 

“My company’s name is IMIGQA WORKS which specialises in creating and restoring identities, and has a clothing brand called Imigqa Afrika which means Lines Africa. The reason why the company is called IMIGQA WORKS is because when we design, we use lines, I see things in lines, I interpret things in lines, I solve problems using lines and that is my strength,” he said. 

Hadebe elaborated that the aim of the clothing brand is to reconstruct Africa’s identity by designing new DNA that will produce Smart, Ethical, Productive, and Responsible Africans (SEPRA) DNA.  

“Imigqa Afrika is redefining what it means to be an African. We celebrate diversity of our people, and we promote unity and self-love amongst Africans by telling a story of Africa focusing on architecture, people, and the nature of the continent of Africa. The reason we are doing this is because we want to be a part of making Africa a better place,” he said.   

Hadebe added that when he was a student he excelled in projects that had anything to do with identity.  

“In 2012, in my third-year, a major project brief was to create an identity for the school of architecture. In our group I was responsible for the design, I noticed that DUT changed its old logo they had and I took inspiration from it by designing a new logo and colours, each colour representing a faculty. My group turned out to be one of the best groups for that project. I was very happy to see the idea implemented into a real project at a new student’s residence,” he explained. 

In terms of obtaining business trainingin 2018 Hadebe did a learnership in business administration for a year and in 2019 he immersed himself into his business making designs that will be attractive to students, professionals and everyone who wanted to express themselves in the modern African way.  

“Students and some staff members bought my T-shirts and more orders started coming. It is very important to be self-sustainable as it teaches you responsibility and new skills like adapting and adjusting in order to succeed,” he said.      

When he started, he did not pay attention to social media as his strategies were mainly the old fashion way of doing business.  

“When I started using social media, I got more orders even from other institutions of learning and, as well as other provinces,” he said.  

Hadebe’s inspiration is derived from his role model, who is his grandmother. “Without her prayers I do not think I would have survived things as she is my biggest inspiration. From her I have learnt to love the Lord, leadership, consistency and being bold,” he said. 

He is proud to have also participated in many amazing opportunities such as being part of DUT’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship incubates, who were invited to display their products at the offices at the beginning of this year.    

The Coronavirus has posted as a challenge in the operation of his business.  However, he aims to persevere and be a leading company in Africa that creates an environment that will enable people to be what they were created to be, as well as to build a centre that will train people to discover their potential and maximise it.    

His advice to future DUT students is to find themselves first and study things that they are wired for by the creator.  

“To me architecture is not a career it is a calling. While I am in my journey of being an architect, I am using the knowledge outside the built environment, my creativity is not limited to what I had studied,” he said.  


Pictured: Mthokozisi Hadebe

Waheeda Peters

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