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DUT Goldsmith Continues To Shine

Date: 
Monday, 9 September, 2013 - 14:58

Media Statement by Alan Khan, Senior Director: Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology

Songezo Baleni won the 2012 Emma Smith, walking away with R40 000. He also set a record in the Durban University of Technology’s Jewellery Design Department after obtaining a 100% mark for his BTech degree (BTech) portfolio in 2012 and was profiled on national television for this achievement.

In 2010, radio and TV personality Anele Mdoda was spotted on the cover of Top Billing magazine wearing earrings crafted by Baleni.

Now, the Durban University of Technology’s Jewellery Design alumnus and part-time lecturer has made the top five of the House and Leisure (HL) Rising Stars project. It was HL’s Durban writer Glynis Horning who put Baleni’s name forward because she believed his talent needed to be noticed.

A total of 51 local creatives were selected, with Baleni making it to the top five. Rising Stars is an HL owned and developed concept, which is now into its third year.

HL Editor Naomi Larkin said the project aimed to showcase talent – particularly young talent – drawn from the broader lifestyle categories that the magazine covers. These include design, décor, art, food, fashion, jewellery, wine, music, architecture, photography, new media and community initiatives. Candidates must have an established track record in their medium; their work must be innovative, show commitment and a clear direction as to where they are taking their creativity. They also need to demonstrate that they have, or are able to take that creativity to the next level and must be able to discuss their work, the philosophy behind it, methodology, learnings, influences, future plans, etc.

The selection is made by the HL team and is compiled over an extended period of time, with the Editor having the final say. “Apart from covering the variety of mediums as outlined earlier, the selection is also cognisant of demographic and geographic representation so we are presenting a project that adequately sums up the country we live in,” said Larkin.

Thanks to the Rising Stars sponsors – Ford and TW Steel watches - HL will produce a one-minute video on each of the top five. The videos – to be compiled by videographers Narrative Truth – will outline, among others, who the candidates are, what they make as well as aspects of their philosophy around their work. Larkin said Narrative Truth would fly to the three areas to film and interview the five. The list and more in-depth interviews can be viewed on the HL website. From here, browsers can vote for their favourite choice (of the five).

On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, Baleni and the other four candidates will be flown to Johannesburg where they will be part of a panel discussion, to be chaired by Larkin in front of an audience of entrepreneurs and business people. The videos will be screened and the discussion will focus on their work. The aim of the event will be to launch their work to a broader audience, helping grow their brands.

On the day, each of the five will also walk away with a Ford Eco-Sport to drive for a month plus a tank of petrol, a TW Steel Iconic Canteen watch valued at R6 750 and a hamper from Bombay Sapphire. This is the first time the project has received sponsorship from which the prizes are offered.

One of the criterion of Rising Stars is for candidates to show that their business have room to grow. Baleni is exceeding boundaries. From being a freelancer in jewellery making, he supplies to galleries in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. He feels working as a freelancer allows him freedom to create designs that inspire him. “With freedom anything goes. I can work on a piece and not like it, a week later I can create a masterpiece out of that,” he said. Next year (2014), his work may be seen in the Design Indaba, Cape Town. Baleni will use the Emma Smith Scholarship prize money to cover expenses towards this.

HL strongly believes that there is much to celebrate in South Africa, and the talent presented in Rising Stars also fosters hope for the nation’s future. “We believe people like Songezo contribute to making South Africa the vibrant country it is,” said Larkin.

High resolution pictures of Songezo Baleni and his designs are available on request from Sinegugu Ndlovu.

For interviews, Songezo Baleni can be reached on 083 239 5052 or by emailing songezobaleni@gmail.com

Issued by:

Sinegugu Ndlovu
DUT Communications
Botanic Mansion
Division of Corporate Affairs
Steve Biko Campus
Gate 1
TEL: (031) 373 2845
FAX:(031) 202 2475
E-MAIL: sinegugunp@dut.ac.za