Sakhiwo Architecture – Sista’s Doing it For Themselves

  • South Africa needs architects that can craft positive social and economic outcomes through intelligent design.
  • The fact that Sakhiwo Architecture is a 100% black woman owned firmed is of no consequence. It is a sign of the times.
  • It is people who give buildings life.

Changing the profile of the post-apartheid built environment in South Africa has its challenges. It requires experience and a skill set from local individuals unique and familiar to the South African context. The influencers are young up and coming black architects that can craft positive social and economic outcomes through intelligent design.

Sakhiwo Architecture, headed by Singalakha Bongela Jojo, is one such contemporary firm making a difference.  The fact that they are a 100% black woman owned firmed is of no consequence. It is a sign of the times.

Singalakha is the product of Xoliswa Bongela, a retired school principal-turned-businesswoman and Dr KS Bongela, the famous novelist. Her journey has been firmly rooted in hard work and sacrifice which was drummed into her as a little girl. Her parents were strict and firm believers in a good education.

‘’It takes deep-rooted local knowledge and understanding to architecturally meld space, budget, materials, energy, water and social equality into a design that is also easy on the eye. The journey needs to be reciprocal. The value is unlocked in simplicity, ease of use and functionality over the extended life of the building – after all, it is people who give buildings life”.

The company was established in 2014 after Singalakha returned from working for an architectural firm in England. She has also worked for a large built environment consultancy in the interim gaining valuable experience on large projects.  Sakhiwo Architecture portfolio covers nurses residence, housing, schools, commercial offices and healthcare facilities.

“I have always wanted to push boundaries. I always question why I shouldn’t be in certain environments. Once you tell me you I can’t do it, my mission is to prove you wrong,” she says.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Contact Sakhiwo Architects: info@sakhiwo-arch.co.za

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