It was 1991, and I became aware of politics in a way that actually affected me. I mean, we all saw PW Botha talking on TV, fucking up our McGuyver or A-Team nights.
I'll never forget the energy of his excitement. He was filled with joy all day but he was patient. He waited till after 7pm when the lines slowed up, walked over to the hall down the street puffing his cigarette. I asked him who he voted for and he told me with the biggest smile on his face. The image of his face with the radio behind him will never leave me.
Some time after Mandela's Inauguration. I had an intense conversation with him about the future of South Africa. I argued surely 30 years from now, we'll be even with white people. Meaning we will all be able to have similar things. In my head I expected to be able to live in Nahoon, East London. Have one of those double story properties on the hills. Man I loved the houses there. I even drove around mentally noting houses I liked and may own someday. He took a few moments to reply. Listening somewhat distractedly to my naïve outlook on things. This is when I started to see a look of despondency on his face. So I decided to shut up.
He replied, "Thirty years is very little time my boy. I think it will take at least three generations. Your grandchildren may be able to have everything white people have." I didn't believe him. I thought he was just being closed-minded.
"Yoh! That's a long time. That's like a hundred years. I'll be dead"
"More," he replied.
As I age I begin to understand why he said what he said.
Change is not something that comes easy. You have to make a big effort.
Try something simple. If you keep your wallet in your back pocket. Try moving it to a front pocket and vice-versa. See how long it takes to get comfortable with that small change.
A mindset is a hundred times harder.
The mindset of a whole race? Most of who don't even believe there's problem. One might say it's impossible.
My father knew this then.
#TryHarder #BeBrave #SeekHelp #ImListening #Listen to #understand. It won't be #easy. But it'll be #WorthIt
This as a view on myself based on questions from an advertising group. Feel free to comment on things I don’t know about myself or failed to mention.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Senior Designer at Integer South Africa and run a design shop called Whisper.
Who are you (briefly)?
I am a designer who loves good ideas, great technology, lifting and a bit of running. I also skate occasionally – I ain’t no pro so don’t ask for tricks. I’m a family man and try to give work and home a fair share of my time. I can be quite forgetful because my mind tends to think faster than I speak. I’m working on getting better at that. My wife would say I fail daily. Apparently, I'm also a foodie - whatever that means.
I spent my youth learning a whole lot about retail with my Father in a corner shop called L.Chibba in East London (Fleet Street). We tackled all sorts of shop problems together as a family. I remember my Mother weighing sugar before it came pre-packed. I also remember wooden Coca-Cola crates, bottled milk, the fridge “smell” – if you’ve rotated cold stock, you know, and the smell of fresh baked bread. I read a lot of comics in the shop, which gave me a great worldview and elastic like imagination. I laugh - a lot by myself, to myself, at myself and at others. You’ll learn to love and hate that about me.
What is your role?
At Integer, I get paid to be a part of an interesting team of people with the complex challenge of shopper marketing. As a designer, I use design to come up with creative solutions to everyday problems that brands face in retail spaces specifically. I also try to manage my time to be able to follow world events and how we can continue being relevant in the marketplace. My role is to keep doing great design as often as possible.
Outside of Integer I do a lot of corporate identity work, marketing and design for production material like brochures, press advertising, Annual Reports, exhibition stands, and printing.
In another life, what alternative occupation would you be in? Why?
Doctor or surgeon. I won the school science award in Matric - don't know how that happened. I love figuring out how things work. I also don’t mind the sight of blood and relish at the thought of surgery. It’s strange – but I’ll be honest - I’m fascinated by the technology for hip replacements, stents, hernia repair, suturing and shit like that. Can I say shit? Ah shit, I just said shit three, no four times.
What are you best known / famous for?
Anybody who knows me since college will tell you I am the guy who say what most people are afraid to say. Pointing out bullshit often gets me the back room – but it’s valuable so I still feature. I once asked, “Can we go now?” — at question time after a long, boring creds presentation from somebody at Saatchi and Saatchi. I was visiting there as an SABS Design Institute nominee. The organisers just put up with me for the rest of the competition.
Describe your happy place
My garage around 5am pushing some weight and listening to some music. Most people leave me alone when I lift. Also it’s around 5am and it’s damn cold in winter.
What inspires you?
New things. Very little truly surprises me these days. Finding something new – even if it doesn’t feel right or fit right sends me into a place of wonder. Knowing there’s something to figure out. A journey of discovery is what inspires me more than anything else.
What are you listening to now?
In my car- Let’s Make Mistakes and Issues (Podcasts), 702, Khaya, Metro, Classic FM or - iPod - more often than not – Metallica, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath – some blues / don’t stream online yet. I like variety – so I don’t just stick to one thing – but if I had to pick – it’s a hard fight between rock or blues.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
Switzerland – love snow, cold weather and mountains and I enjoy my own company – few people enjoy cold.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you?
Becoming a Father – seems unoriginal – but once you see your baby and hear those first cries. Nothing else matters. It’s ethereal stuff. I cried more than he did and for a longer time.
Where do you see the industry going?
I see a future filled with a lot of shitty sub-par work from people who have a Photoshop or a design app to make their logo, business cards, stationery, etc. It doesn’t worry me too much though.
Truly original work will still come from agencies, because we care about setting ourselves apart and maintaining a standard. What we face is the challenge of doing our work in a time frame that is as quick as this “competition”. The amount and pace of change happening in media, corporations, world affairs, social justice and technology just intensifies this more nimble, ninja like speed we require to stay in the game.
So I see a future where the way we work will be different. Designers accustomed to having weeks to do their work, will need to up the pace. It’s uncomfortable right? It won’t be the first time the industry has had a shake up - anybody used a font book, stock book or Letraset recently?
In the end, we will need to stay grounded in what we do best – connecting with customers. Being able to find the human truths and amplifying the emotional connection. This is what makes great advertising great. That won’t change.
Any links to any of your work? (Online portfolio, articles, blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.)
I am vchibba at Facebook/Google+/Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram (mostly food and kid posts here)/Skype/Gmail/Movember/fucking everywhere – almost.
PS: The mug on my head in my profile pic belongs to somebody else in the agency. I kinda claimed it and made it my own. They’re welcome to come swear me, punch me in the face or whatever. I’ll take the ass whoopin’ and I may apologise.