GSA Homegrown: Celebrating African Architectural Talent
Homegrown is a social media and print campaign that celebrates the African talent in our GSA-Boogertman + Partners International Lecture Series. The series is listed alphabetically and draws conceptually on the idea of the periodic table. Each description has a link to the introductions that we've made over the years, an interesting and perhaps unknown fact about the speaker and the date of their lecture. All Africans, including South Africans and Africans-in-the-Diaspora, are included. At our last count, we've had 31 African speakers out of a total of 47, which we believe is something worth celebrating.
HOMEGROWN # 31 Unit 15X
A veritable trio of African unity, this three-man team who hail from Zambia, South Africa and Ghana are the teaching force behind Unit 15X, now in its fourth year at the GSA. Dr Finzi Saidi is a landscape architect and Senior Lecturer at the GSA; Absalom Makhubu is an urbanist who has been at UJ for six years and Dickson Adu-Agyei was a star student in Unit 15X last year and is now finding his (firm) feet as a junior lecturer. He’s also just had a baby girl, which means he’s currently quite sleep-deprived. They’ve been all over the continent with their students and their talk on Thursday 8 August 2019 included highlights from a discotheque in Kampala and a football pitch in Dar-es-Salaam (oh, and a beach in Zanzibar, too). Want to know a few interesting facts? Jabu has the most amazing collection of jewelry. Like, amazing. He’s also a big fan of the ‘short suit’. As in matching shirt ‘n’ shorts. Finzi rivals Madiba for his colourful shirts. Dickson’s just had a baby girl. Oh, did we just say that? Finzi’s passionate about football and landscape. He used to be a hockey-dad. Dickson has his own practice and would like to do a PhD. Finzi speaks Afrikaans.
HOMEGROWN # 30 Huda Tayob
Dr Huda Tayob joined the GSA after a prolonged period of courting her to come ‘back home.’ Boy, are we glad she did! She’s been with us for six short months and she’s totally transformed the History & Theory programme, putting on an amazing colloquium that spilled out into the streets of Braamfontein and publishing a supplement to FOLIO, Forgetting Architecture, out now on ISSUU. All in six months. She’s also won a major award, presented at numerous conferences overseas, gone on a research trip to Ghana and still found time to give a great talk on Thursday 29 August 2019! Want to know a few interesting facts? She studied at UCT and then went on to do a PhD at the Bartlett. She comes from a long line of academics. She’s a dab hand behind a camera but not so keen being in front of one! She’s part of a new generation of African historians and theoreticians who are rewriting history, literally. She’s got a smile that can light up a room.
HOMEGROWN # 29 Mitchell Squire
Mitchell Squire resists easy – or even any – classification. He’s an artist, architect, activist, African, anarchist, author . . . all of the above and more. He’s been coming back to the GSA every year since 2014, making him our longest-serving (and suffering . . . it’s a 32-hour journey, door-to-door) visitor. He’s done it all – lectures, performances, reviews, examinations, seminars, masterclasses and workshops. It’s fair to say we just love his unique blend of disciplinary passions and no one who was at his performance at Forgetting Architecture will ever forget Mitchell. It’s not possible to single out any one lecture or appearance at the GSA as being more inspiring than the rest. We salute you, Professor Squire. We cannot imagine the canon without you. Want to know a few interesting facts? He was once a world-class bodybuilder. He is fearless, utterly fearless. His work pushes against the edges of every known epistemological boundary. Questioning, for him, is everything. He was born in Mississippi. He lives in Iowa.