The Butterfly Wall installation.
The Butterfly Wall installation.
Gqama Ntyatyambo by Loyiso Mkize
Gqama Ntyatyambo by Loyiso Mkize
Blue Forest’s Kariba
Blue Forest’s Kariba
What is South Africa’s most beautiful object? The search is an annual competition which Design Indaba spearheads, and the public then votes for the winner.

Last year saw nominators such as fashion designer Sindiso Khumalo and television presenter Katlego Maboe nominate the Kassena Town Cabinets by Dokter & Misses and the See-Saw-Do social enterprise respectively. But it was the shawl created by Laduma Ngxokolo that took top honours. We take a look at the top nominations for 2017.

The Sankara Rug by Nkuli Mlangeni

The piece was designed by Nkuli Mlangeni, founder of The Ninevites, a collaborative project that celebrates black aesthetics. Bielle Bellingham, creative director of Cordova Productions, says the unique rug elegantly weaves tradition and the future, craft techniques and technology, Africanness and global appeal.

Blue Forest’s Kariba

Blue Forest’s Kariba is a viral teaser created ahead of a feature-length film that promises to be completed this year. Based on a graphic novel that harnesses both mythology and history, the trailer has captured the imaginations of storytellers around the world.

The Hawker’s Rocking Chair

The women selling their wares in downtown Johannesburg inspired fashion designer Thebe Magugu to create The Hawker’s Rocking Chair. In collaboration with craftsman Emile Millward, Magugu designed a chair that ties into his fashion range in a poetic way.

The Moroccan Magic Dress

Designed by Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi, the Moroccan Magic Dress is an example of delicate sensibility. According to its designers, it is a singular look that is at once fresh, feminine and reinforces the importance of collaboration.

The Rockpoole Coffee Table by Caroline Vieira

The ceramic tabletop is one of a series of platters and tiles that play on the "rockpool" theme by Caroline Vieira. Using her signature combination of oxides and glazes atop a ceramic surface, Vieira replicated the movement of seawater and foam over a rock surface.

The Indalo Backpack

The wooden cylindrical backpack was designed by Eastern Cape entrepreneur Inga Gubeka. Local media have described it as one of the most unique and interesting products in the country right now.

The Butterfly Wall installation

The wall installation by KwaZulu-Natal artist Mark Rautenbach was inspired by the concept of a late 19th century industrial, classy gentlemen’s club. It is made up of entomological specimen boxes that explore the relationship between the sweetness of butterflies and the destructive nature of fire. The Butterfly Wall resides in Chef Luke Dale-Robert’s restaurant, The Shortmarket Club.

Gqama Ntyatyambo by Loyiso Mkize

When visual artist Loyiso Mkize isn’t working on Kwezi, South Africa’s first black superhero comic book, he is creating multimedia works like Gqama Ntyatyambo, that explore the complex nature of African culture.

Joe Slovo West community project by Kevin Kimwelle

Love Story, a Port Elizabeth-based NGO, launched a project to help build a crèche in the impoverished community of Joe Slovo. Designed and built by architect studio Collectif Saga with Indalo and Love Story, the new crèche is an example of how “innovative thinking, collaboration and beautiful design can transform the lives of an entire community,” says its nominator, film-maker Hanneke Schutte.

A sculpture by Mohau Modisakeng

The piece was crafted to represent Modisakeng’s own likeness, and forms part of a larger travelling series, Lefa La Ntate, which features self-portraiture and full-length sculpture.

* Design Indaba Festival 2017 runs from March 1 to 3 in Cape Town. Vote for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at