Change the world


Lockdown has not hindered the creative juices of Nelson Mandela University students who have produced a diverse digital contribution in recognition of Youth Day on June 16.

Fashion, poetry, the spoken word, dance, design sculpture and music all take centre stage in celebrating the spirit of youth and the role of the arts as a source of joy, spiritual upliftment and healing at a time of great uncertainty.

The various offerings that reflect this have been captured in a visual collage for virtual sharing, thanks to the efforts of the University’s Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) Department.

“The different genres were used to create layers of creativity and expression that highlights the depth of reflections at this time on society,” says ACH Deputy Director Ryan Pillay.

His words were amplified by Acting Dean of Humanities Professor Mary Duker.

“Art is an expression of humanity. Art can be a call to action, as well as a source of joy and spiritual upliftment.

“For many of our creative arts students, spending time at home under lockdown, art making serves as a form of healing, of therapy, as well as a form of escapism from what are often difficult and traumatic circumstances.”

The various contributions are captured below:


Three outfits by contributors from the University’s Fashion and Textile Design Department highlight the overall message the students (youth) addressed, through the response to current societal problems of identity and representation. Shot with permission on an empty Mandela University campus, students model the clothing in the presence of Mandela artworks. 

The clothing was designed by Sino Fiti, Ariana Patsalos and Pumelela Mlenze, and Nombongo Rasimeni and Abigail Vos. View the fashion photo shoot.


Speaking truth to power in messages that have relevance for the here and now, as well as the past and the future, in their authenticity are poems and the spoken words by Lelethu Camagu Rhayi, Athenkosi Feni, Siyabonga Ngcai and Asisipho Tsobo. Access the poetry and spoken word.

Music and Dance

Dance and music collaborations fused with depth and messaging in line with both June 16 and COVID-19 make for insightful contemporary story-telling. Each piece was performed at the artist’s homes and then edited.

David Bester, Craig Arnolds, DJ RSCO, Kaashiefa Plaatjies, Chester Summerton, Amy-Lee Pook, Kuda Majonga, Kelly Adams, Ace Nabo, Tendai Dembaremba, Sibabalwe Ngewu, Kuda Majonga and Sange Mtukushe were the performers. View the dance and music collaboration.

Fine Arts

Fine Arts across the genres gave rise to creative illustrations from students Rosanne Pieterse, Emma Ngumbela, Darren Brecht and Kayla Geswindt. It also includes work that is housed on their individual Behance profiles. View the art profiles.

Senior Director: Communication and Marketing, Chantal Janneker, says, “The experience of arts, culture and heritage is a vehicle through which the experience of Mandela University is felt by students and other publics.”

View a digital collage of the packages.


Contact information
Mr Ryan Pillay
Deputy Director: Arts, Culture and Heritage
Tel: 041 504 2508