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 # 22 Mphethi Morojele
Mphethi Morojele is one of South Africa’s leading architects, the founder of MMA in Johannesburg who’ve worked all over South Africa and the continent at large. He studied at UCT and the Bartlett, was born in Lesotho but grew up all over the world, including Swaziland, Italy and Ethiopia. In another life, he always says he would have been an academic and in his lecture on Thursday 20 September 2018, it was clear to see why. Thoughtful, thought-provoking and deeply engaged, this quietly spoken man took the audience on a journey that ‘reverberated especially with the culture and political transition of South Africa from apartheid to democracy.’ Want to know a few interesting facts? He speaks fluent Italian. He’s fond of a practical joke or two. He designed his own house. He’s always on the lookout for new and inspiring young talent. He finds travel one of the best ways to unwind.
HOMEGROWN # 21 Craig McClenaghan
Craig McClenaghan has been associated with the GSA since its inception, as many of you who heard his lecture will attest. From co-teaching in Unit 12 in 2015 (he’s still recovering); working with Eric Wright and Prof Lokko on the GSA’s contribution to 3rd Istanbul Design Biennale (there isn’t a bar left in Istanbul which they didn’t visit) to being on reviews, hiring former students and running his own practice in PLOT (which everyone thinks is a GSA satellite anyway), this Johannesburg practitioner is simply part of the family. In a beautifully curated and crafted talk on Thursday 1 August 2019, he described his journey from UCT via Mashabane Rose to his own practice, CMA, with elegance, beauty and humility. Want to know a few interesting facts? This fact is so outstanding that it eclipses all other facts. Craig loves Mariah Carey. In fact, he has a world-class collection of Mariah Carey GIFs. Honest.
HOMEGROWN # 20 Mpho Matsipa
The hair! The mind! The delivery! The razor-sharp intellect! Dr Mpho Matsipa is one of the few colleagues from ‘across-the-road’ who braves the Iron Curtain to speak at the GSA. And we were delighted to have her. On Thursday 11 October 2018, she wowed the audience with her work, ranging from hair-braiding to curating international exhibitions. She’s a force for change wherever she goes, whether at Columbia University where she’s been an adjunct for the past few years, to Munich where she curated African Mobilities, one of the Pinakotek’s most successful shows ever. Want to know a few interesting facts? She got a distinction in design from UCT ‘back in the day.’ She hails from a family of talented designers and academics, making architecture a foregone conclusion. She loves colour, all colours. She’s fond of a statement earring. She’s actually quite shy.