A final-year Industrial Design student at the University of Johannesburg, Ms Tshepiso Motau, was declared the winner of the Furniture Design Competition in a ceremony hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) at the Buy Local Summit in Johannesburg today.

Motau, who hails from Centurion, designed an eye-catching and colourful room divider with the Ndebele patterns inspired by the internationally acclaimed artist, Dr Esther Mahlangu. The University of Johannesburg conferred an honorary doctorate on Mahlangu in April 2018. The room diver, which can be folded, and it comes with shelves that can be assembled and dissembled depending on the space available.

Motau was one of the five finalists who produced innovative pieces of furniture in line with the theme of this year’s competition, Local is Lekker.

The annual competition is organised by the dtic in partnership with key industry stakeholders such as the South African Furniture Initiative. It is one of the Furniture Industry Masterplan programmes aimed at promoting design skills in the furniture industry. The main objectives of the competition are to raise and nurture design capabilities in the country; raise the image of the Furniture Manufacturing Industry in South Africa; and to grow the industry’s competitiveness by encouraging new product  design and differentiation.

Speaking after the announcement, the evidently elated Motau (21) said the win came as a surprise to her as she had resigned to a lower spot in the top three after seeing what other students had produced.

“In fact to me being in the top five was a mammoth victory worth celebrating. I really derived pride, joy and contentment from just being one of the finalists. Being crowned the winner of a national furniture design competition of this magnitude in my first attempt was really a cherry on top of the cake. I am extremely excited and lost for words,” said Motau.

She said her education would still be her first priority. She would like to complete her Honours Degree in Industrial Designing before thinking of a fulltime career as a furniture designer and manufacturer.

However, as the winner, Motau has an enviable opportunity to hone her furniture design skills further. She romped home with a six-month stint in a Furntech Furniture Business Technology Incubator Programme, and an internship with Homewood Furniture, which were two of her prizes for her win. She was also rewarded with a laptop by Lewis Furniture.

Winner of the 2023 national Furniture Design Competition, Ms Tshepiso Motau next to her enterprising and eye-catching design.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
Mobile: 079 5083 457
WhatsApp: 074 2998 512
E-mail: BLukhele@thedtic.gov.za
Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)

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