From just an idea to OMG – fashion creative Sir Abner and furniture designer Sipho Khwebula Thwala pool their creative forces.

The work of furniture and fashion designers is on us and all around us. Re-defining these fields down to the finest detail are two trailblazers who got it in their heads that something extraordinary had to come from joining forces.

Sir Abner and Sipho Khwebula Thwala met and bonded over a shared trajectory to them living out their passions. Before entering the furniture business Sipho was a taxi driver while Sir Abner, who is formally trained as a graphic and multimedia designer, went into retail to figure out how he would enter the world of fashion. 

“I really never thought I’d be a furniture maker,” shares Sipho. He adds, “I got an opportunity from The Department of Economic Development to take part in a learnership programme. I took the course and then after three months I started my own company which failed within a year due to lack of experience and I wasn’t really good at producing good quality furnished pieces.”. 

Not to be defeated, Sipho used Youtube videos to teach himself 3D design then honed his skills with a master craftsman – David Krynauw – who introduced him to high quality furniture design. He worked with David for three years.   

“Me being a designer and manufacturer, and combining my hustler mentality which I got from being a taxi driver, I decided I was going to give birth to Kwhebula Arts.”

“Most of his chairs resemble something like the Bauhaus movement. Yes, it’s local, but it’s very clocal, in the sense that it’s very internationally stylised,” explains Sir Abner Makgamatha, Artistic Director and Designer.

Abner led the textile design on the project. His print was inspired by a portrait of artist Doctor Esther Mahlangu, but interpreted in his own visual language.

The co-creators collection debuted at Design Joburg where their collaborative bench based on a minibus seat quickly became the talk of the town.

“People are just mind blown by our stand… They see the craftsmanship in our work and they see Sir Abner’s textiles and how he’s designed this whole space,” comments Sipho. 

“If you look at the backseat of the bench, it actually has a coded message in it that speaks to the inspiration of Sipho’s background trajectory of how he got here, to make the concept tangible for you to see and own,” shares Sir Abner. 

Needless to say we too are blown away by their designers! The day that the names Twala and Makgamatha came together may prove a landmark in South African design – and you were there to see it.

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