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 # 19 Jonathan Manning
Looks can be deceptive. This remarkably youthful-looking man is the Group Managing Director at Osmond Lange, one of the country’s biggest firms. He grew up in Botswana, was educated at the Bartlett and came home to South Africa in the early 90s to open up his own practice, Ikemeleng Architects. In their own words, ‘Ikemeleng is a seSotho word meaning “stand on your own feet.” Our goal is to become a voice through which the communities we are part of, and other voiceless sections of society, can speak creatively and have a stake in shaping the environment in which we all live.’ Want to know a few interesting facts? He is footie mad. He went to all (yes, all) the games at the 2010 World Cup. He worked for Peter Rich. He loves graffiti, so much so that his final project at the Bartlett was about urban protest. He ‘decorated’ an entire wall of G020, the examination hall in said style. His examiner wasn’t impressed.
HOMEGROWN #18 Lesley Lokko
Although Lesley Lokko hasn’t actually given a lecture in the series, she’s introduced almost every single speaker since its inception. She’s also the person who dreamed up the series in the first place and managed to persuade Bob van Bebber to support it. Since she’s leaving the GSA at the end of this year, we thought it would be a fitting farewell to include her on the poster. She’s been synonymous with the GSA since founding the school in 2016 and although she’s leaving, it’s more a ‘see you soon’ than a ‘goodbye.’ Want to know a few interesting facts? She’s a Bartlett kid through-and-through, all the way from Year 1 to PhD. She’s also the author of eleven best-selling novels. She studied sociology and languages before becoming an architect. She built her own house and swears never to build another. She’s moving to New York but says she’s miss Braamfontein. We don’t believe her!
HOMEGROWN # 17 Mae-Ling Lokko
The only speaker in the three-year series who didn’t actually make it to Johannesburg, courtesy of a mix-up between South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs and the Ghana High Commission. She got halfway here – London Heathrow – and was prevented from boarding her flight to Johannesburg. What can we say? Pan-African cooperation and solidarity at its finest. Next time. Perhaps. Want to know a few interesting facts? She’s the younger sister of the current Director of the GSA. She studied at Tufts and received her PhD in Architecture from Rensselaer, USA. She was shortlisted for the Hublot Prize for Design 2019. She grows building materials. Literally.