Patrick Smith, the outgoing president handing over the 120-year-old Chain of Office to the newly elected president Sikhumbuzo Mtembu. Picture: ODMedia: Geoff Redman
Patrick Smith, the outgoing president handing over the 120-year-old Chain of Office to the newly elected president Sikhumbuzo Mtembu. Picture: ODMedia: Geoff Redman

South African Institute of Architecture KZN elects its first African president

By Nokuthula Mabuza Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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DURBAN - SOUTH African Institute of Architecture KwaZulu-Natal (SAIA KZN) president Sikhumbuzo Mtembu aims to make the profession of architecture relevant to broader communities and use it to solve economic as well as community problems.

The 40-year-old was speaking prior to his inauguration as the first and youngest African president of the organisation.

The 120-year-old institution held the event at the KZNSA Art Gallery in Glenwood on Tuesday night.

Originally from the Eastern Cape, Mtembu came to Durban to study architecture in 1999 at the Durban University of Technology.

He then attended the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Architecture in 2003.

Later that year, Mtembu received a Corobrik KZN award for his thesis on railway stations, following his role as the project architect at the Bridge City Railway Station in KwaMashu.

In 2014, he established Striation Architects; he was also the youngest architects’ representative for Africa and champion at the Union of Architects of Durban Congress.

Mtembu, who was representing the SAIA KZN and South Africa on the council of the AU of Architects as the Green Building director, said his love for architecture began at a young age.

“I always loved drawing. It was my favourite thing to do in my spare time. I remember thinking that I was going to study fine art.

“I didn’t think drawing, buildings and construction could become one, as engineering or architecture, until I went to high school.”

Mtembu revealed that building houses and buildings to accommodate disabled people were his proudest achievements.

“Architecture is not just architecture, but calculated (art).

“An artist can draw a line and not measure it.

“But as an architect, your line should be measured and interpreted on sight through concrete.

“This is important, because I sometimes do medico-legal reports for the state attorneys,” said Mtembu.

Daily News

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