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Friendzone: Thandanani Mhlanga

I am experimenting with an idea that I am not sure, whether or not, I will be able to carry it out but I am going to try. I am currently having Internet fatigue. It is moments where I feel that I fill every single free moment in my life by going on the Internet. Sometimes with good reason (to blog or for work or research) sometimes it is just to waste time (normally spent on Twitter saying random things and tweeting links to strangers and people I know.)

So I decided to start a series on my blog where I write an ode to a friend and why they are so special to me or how we met or whatever (I don't have a template yet).

So I am going to start with Thanda because I feel she is the one friend I have made over the past couple of years who inspires me greatly but who I have also been through a lot of random experience with, in a very short space of time.

Thanda is also a journalist, which would explain why I first met her while we were both interns at a newspaper in Cape Town called the Weekend Argus. This was 2010. We sat next to each other and she had the most infectious laugh and was always (or most of the time) keen to do all sorts of crazy things that I suggested.

So when I decided that I wanted to spend my birthday in a forest near Gansbaai in the Western Cape planting trees and partying with a group of environmentalists, she (and Wendyl Martin) jumped at the chance to come with. We arrived in the forest in the middle of the night with no torch and I somehow managed to get us kicked out of a Cubana (a bar/lounge) in a small seaside town called Hermanus, but this is a story for another day.

Even after all this she still came with me to Mozambique in October last year. This turned out to be an epic four days of partying, drinking local beers, mingling with the locals, lazy days in the warm waters and (ahem) almost not making it back home and having to visit the South African consulate to try to get home...two hours before our flight. Again... another story for another day.

from left: me, Thanda, Wendyl, Fikile and Yizzi on Clifton Beach in Cape Town

She has since started working for Cosmopolitan Magazine in South Africa where she is doing a lot of travelling and writing. she is on her way to Eastern Europe as I type this.

But she is also a published author. At 24 she's already had two books out, which is pretty amazing.
She is so spunky and full of life and she loves fashion and all things nice although she is totally down for roughing it with me among the "riffraff" crowd whenever the need arrives.We are so different but so similar in our approach to life and I think that is exactly what makes our friendship work.

Thanda loves braids. :) Rooftop pool  in Woodstock, Cape Town


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Five Questions with Neo Maditla

First published on

Neo Maditla is Editor in Chief of Design Indaba online, South Africa's leading design and creativity platform. features some of the best talent on the African continent and from around the globe. Not only is Neo passionate about African art, but she's also a seasoned writer with experience in print, TV and online. We just had to have her on the Rise Art Prize panel for Africa and the Middle East.

1. What’s your favourite art gallery?
I love the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. It has a massive collection and I always go there, alone or with friends, and I just spend hours on end looking through the work. It's located in massive public park where one can go for a picnic, visit the restaurant or even take a stroll down Government Avenue so see the monument commissioned by Design Indaba in honour of Archbishop Tutu called Arch for Arch.
Cape Town's Iziko South African National Gallery.
2. What’s your favourite …