It’s that time of year again where we reveal our annual Must Watch In Culture list. Despite the challenges thrown to the arts sector by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we thought it would be an apt time to shine a ray of light on young, emerging Africans doing amazing things across different sectors of the arts. This list, which was compiled through a vigorous research and debate process across industries such as arts & entertainment, fashion, beauty, sports, health, business, tech, lifestyle and journalism, highlights individuals who are disrupting their industry and show great promise to have an impactful 2020. We believe these eight personalities are making a mark and show the potential to do so for years to come.
NANDI MBATHA – ACTRESS & MODEL
Since breaking through as an actress on Mzansi Magic’s Isithembiso, where she portrays the character Simlindile “Simi” Ngema, Nandi Mbatha has developed into one of the country’s most promising young actresses. Still in her early 20s, the KZN born-and-bred star has already worked as a brand ambassador for multinational brands like Coca Cola and Cadbury and has set her sights on blossoming into a global star in the near future. Not one to be boxed in, she’s also expressed an interest in fashion and looks set to delve deeper into runway modelling.
“It truly is such an honour to be recognised in such a way by Moziak, ‘Must Watch In Culture’”, she says. “For me it means I’m doing the right things to shape today’s culture and make it that much more exciting for the future as well. I really hope my efforts inspire young Queens all over Africa to be authentic! “Your anointing is in your authenticity” and never forget that. Thank you Moziak and of course Nandi-Nation for the constant love and support, here’s to many more ground-breaking work.”
KGOMOTSO NETO TLEANE – PHOTOGRAPHER
“Kgomotso Neto creates imagery that effortlessly reflects both the grime and glory of the city he resides in”, wrote Thabang Buthelezi on 10and5’s poignant profile on Neto’s unconventional photography. His art, which is brilliantly expressed through his raw photography of unlikely settings such as Bree Taxi Rank, seeks to explore black life and tell its stories through raw and unfiltered imagery. With brands and art exhibitors beginning to pay closer attention to his unique work, we can expect to see more and more of Neto’s work across Johannesburg and beyond in the near future.
THEMBINKOSI LORCH – FOOTBALLER
Thembinkosi Lorch’s performances for Bafana Bafana at AFCON 2019 in Egypt and his exploits for Orlando Pirates in the local PSL has seen him grow into one of the country’s most exciting sports stars. He’s also been inadvertently thrust onto the intersection between a sports and urban cultural icon thanks largely to DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small’s hit song, “Lorch”. Released towards the end of 2019, “Lorch” has been one of the hottest songs to come out of South Africa over the last year. With a blockbuster move to Europe on the cards it’ll be very interesting to see how bright his star shines once the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic subside.
“I’ve got a system that I use,” Lorch’s new high profile agent, Jazzman Mahlakgane, told the Sowetan. “I don’t just accept to work with any player. What was attractive for me to work with Lorch is that he is a well-behaved boy and is family-orientated. Like with any player who is ambitious and wants to achieve greater things, I will make sure his dreams come true. He is an ambitious young man.”
SHELLEY MOKOENA – FASHION & INTERIOR DESIGNER
Shelley Mokoena brings a lot to the table. Not only is she a fashion designer, she’s also a qualified professional interior designer and a visual content creator. Mokoena formed part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives class of 2018 and was named one of the 2018 most innovative creatives breaking boundaries in South Africa by House and Leisure. Since establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with, Mokoena has collaborated with brands such as Calvin Klein, DKNY, Country Road, Net-a-Porter and, more recently, founded her own fashion brand called Connade.
“I feel honoured to be recognised on the Must Watch In Culture list. It’s a great privilege for people to be able to see your work and really identify with it and hope that it inspires something greater in them as well. Thank you.”
JOE “HUMAN” NAWAYA – CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR
2019 was a watershed year for Joe “Human” Nawaya. His notable achievements last year included a Presidential Award, the honour of speaking at the Standard Bank Future Movers Summit and being enlisted among the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30. This creative entrepreneur’s work ranges from developing his clients’ brand identity to partnering with some of the country’s leading brands to deliver unique, stylish and bespoke creative experiences for their businesses.
“I’m really honoured to be making this feature, apart from it meaning that my work is being recognised it also means that there’s a space in the world for every one of us to create value and I’m happy platforms like Moziak are passionate about unrooting our diverse talents,” says Joe “Human” Nawaya.
COSTA TITCH – RECORDING ARTIST
Costa Titch’s rise through the ranks of South African hip-hop has been meteoric. Known as a dancer and choreographer in industry circles, Costa has shifted his focus over the last year or two squarely on being a rap star with a penchant for an unorthodox mix of English and Zulu rapping. Since releasing the remix and music video for his viral hit Nkalakhatha, he’s rapidly grown his social media following, piqued the public’s interest through several high-level cosigns (not least Riky Rick and AKA, who are both featured on the remix) and can now be counted among the country’s most promising and fast-rising hip-hop artists. Now pushing his latest single, Thembi ft. Boity, we expect to see him continue on his path towards superstardom.
On making the list he shares: “I feel great! Honestly it’s been such a blessing to become a part of the conversation in the music industry and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”
ZOVUYO “ZOE” MSUTWANA – BRAND PR STRATEGIST
Since starting out as a PR practitioner at Vogue Communications almost a decade ago, Zovuyo “Zoe” Msutwana’s career has blossomed into one at the forefront of the South African entertainment industry. Through her work with DNA Brand Architects, she has worked on brands such as Brutal Fruit, Rimmel London and was largely responsible for bringing to life the Bonang Matheba brand through rolling out the star’s partnerships with Revlon and Woolworths SA. Zoe is currently heading up strategy at Orchard On 25, a Joburg-based boutique Brand, Marketing, Communications and Solutions Agency which looks after brands such as Johnnie Walker, Cîroc and Tanqueray.
“Making Moziak’s Must Watch In Culture list for 2020 has been such an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise,” says Zovuyo “Zoe” Msutwana. “I’m a huge fan of the platform and the work they do in our industry and this recognition means the world coming from them. This is a true testament that continuing to pursue excellence in whatever field, at your own pace, being intentional with your positioning while remaining consistent is never a mistake. I believe in acting and carrying yourself like the whole world is your audience, even when no one is paying attention, because trust me, someone is always watching. Thank you for taking note Moziak. Truly honoured.”
COURTNAE’ PAUL – CHOREOGRAPHER & DJ
Choreographer and DJ Courtnae’ Paul’s resume indicates that she’s well on her way to being a household name. Her current projects include being a headline DJ and the official choreographer for Sun Met 2020, choreographer for the DSTV MVC Awards 2020, as well as a choreographer, DJ and performer for 2020 Heineken Conference. She’s also the Head Judge on SABC 1’s Break Da Beat season 2, signed to ASICS SA and The Dance Afrique Kenya guest judge and panelist. Her weekly quarantine Instagram live sessions have seen her rope in the who’s who of the local entertainment scene, including the likes of Holly Rey, Sketchy Bongo, Rouge and Mariechan.
“I am so humbled and grateful to the Moziak team for selecting me as part of this amazing list! It was completely unexpected. As a forever-disrupter of norms, being recognised for your efforts in any way, shape or form is always appreciated, thank you!”