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Sindiso Nyoni, UJ FADA graduate- contemporary illustrator, activist and street-artist

Sindiso Nyoni

Sindiso is an independent graphic artist, a contemporary illustrator, activist and street-artist with a BTech degree in Graphic Design from UJ’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). His striking posters won him acclaim in the 2011 Voices of Freedom Exhibition, a collection of posters celebrating the independence of Mexico.

After graduating in 2008, Sindiso worked as an illustrator for an illustration studio in Cape Town before spending another two years working as an art director/designer for an advertising agency in Johannesburg. “In 2012, I went solo and have been operating independently as a freelance graphic designer/illustrator and creative/art director,” he says.

He remembers his time at UJ FADA fondly. “We were given the opportunity to focus on the illustration profession, which was a component of the design course that I would later specialise in and earn a living from it. It equipped me with the guidance and introductory technical skill sets, which would eventually inform the process I apply to my projects to this day,” he says.

Sindiso grew up in a lower middle class family of nine in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. “I became only the second of three in my family to get a tertiary education, and it’s probably because I consistently excelled in my academics throughout my school days,” he says.

From left to right: Mr. Dali Tambo and Mr. Tumi Tsehlo with Mr. Sindiso Nyoni, designer of the Tambo portraits featured on the coins, as well as Ms. Linda Vilakazi, CEO of the Tambo Foundation.

Sindiso attended St Patrick’s Christian Brothers College in Bulawayo, completing his A-levels in 2002. Unfortunately, upon completing high school, Sindiso had to take two gap years, as the economic decline in Zimbabwe meant it was too expensive for his family to afford his university enrolment. “However, my mother managed to single-handedly raise my first year’s tuition, and when I moved to Johannesburg, I was able to work freelance jobs and acquired a top-up bursary through the Sappi Think Ahead design programme to pay my way through my degree,” he says.

Sindiso says he has been drawing since about the age of four, so art was a constant in his endeavours. But it was only at the age of 16 that he was introduced to graphic design as a possible career route, thanks to his high school art teacher who was a retired graphic designer who had relocated from New York to teach in Bulawayo.

“I am persistent about growth and learning and constantly honing my craft. Being open to collaboration and adaptation to the changing times also leads me to be driven by the idea that I have not created my best work yet,” he says.

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