Durban University of Technology’s Interior Design student, Lwazi Mshibe’s perseverance paid off, following his announcement as the winner of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) Furniture Design Competition Awards in the Student Category, during the awards ceremony held at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg recently.
Mshibe entered the competition last year but unfortunately, his project failed to impress the judges. This year Mshibe made sure that his space saving invention called “Songa” (meaning to fold in IsiXhosa).
He had the idea for the Songa concept when he moved from his home to live in a flat. “It was during this period when I was introduced to the struggles many students encounter living in very limited space that often required flexible pieces of furniture. That is when I designed this multi-purpose concept that comes as one and can be stored for a variety of uses. The concept can be put together and tucked away when space is required, “said Mshibe.
The Furniture Design Competition Awards seek to elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities, while also aiming to enhance the furniture industry’s competitiveness both locally and abroad.
Mshibe’s future plans include focusing on developing his brand and making use of platforms and connections that will come his way to design affordable furniture that can be mass produced for local and international consumption.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe said the furniture industry was pertinent to “radically transforming” South Africa’s economy.
“It is partly because it is one of the most labour intensive and trade supporting sectors, and if it is promoted correctly it can significantly contribute to industry development and lead to the beneficiation of raw materials. This initiative contributes to the development of design skills in the sector and supporting this kind of innovation is paramount to the conversation about the 4th industrial revolution,” said Magwanishe.
Pictured: Durban University of Technology, Interior Design student, Lwazi Mshibe with Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe.