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Ubuntu Design Group

SAY IT LOUD - NOW Exhibitor

South Africa Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

I’m inspired by the sacrifices and integrity of Nelson Mandela and the class and leadership of Barrack Obama.



The Great Designer, Wandile Mthiyane is an Obama Leader, lecturer, TEDx Fellow, Resolution Fellow, dynamic speaker, social entrepreneur, and the founder of Ubuntu Design Group (UDG), an architectural and micro-finance organization that focuses on social-impact design projects in housing and urban design. Wandile studied his BSA and M.Arch at Andrews University in Michigan. Wandile is also a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban University of Technology School/Department of Architecture in Durban.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I grew up in shantytown community where everyone was an architect because everyone built their own home, inspired by the resourcefulness, ingenuity and creativity of my community I chose to study architecture so I could help my community develop.

What do you do?

I run a social impact design firm called Ubuntu Design Group, we focus on using architecture to help communities heal from exclusionary. Most of our work is in the continent of Africa, focusing on reviving the principles of African architecture.

What excites you in the work you do?

The idea that architecture is never neutral, it either heals or hurts and we’re choosing to use the same tool used by the oppressor to enable the oppressed to thrive in South Africa and around the world.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

I’m inspired by the sacrifices and integrity of Nelson Mandela and the class and leadership of Barack Obama.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Being invited to present my work at the Obama Foundation alongside the architects who are designing the presidents library in Chicago.

Featured Project Name: 

Mtshali Home

Featured Project Location: 



Featured Project Completion Date: 


Role in Featured Project: 

Partner firms, Lead architect + Project Manager.


Featured Project Description:

In 2016 Ubuntu Design Group partnered with Andrews University M.Arch to develop an affordable housing model that enabled a family to financially sustain themselves. A house doesn’t pay bills nor put food on the table, so we set out to work with the Ubumbulu community to develop a solution that provides a dignified home whilst also creating employment and that’s how Ubuntu Home was born. This is a handicap accessible affordable home that has a commercial space that’s adapted to families skill set

Photography Credit:

Troy Homenchuk & Andrew Von Maur

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