The Nando’s Hot Young Designer winners

Not one, but two winners share the sought after title of Nando’s Hot Young Designer

They are Thabisa Mjo, a 28-year-old interior designer from the Eastern Cape who now lives in Johannesburg, and Samantha Foaden, a 23-year-old interior designer from Durban. Thabisa was featured in SA Garden and Home in 2015 as a finalist in the Homewood Emerging Designer competition.

The Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search challenged young South African designers to design a pendant light fitting that can be used in Nando’s restaurants all around the world.

Thabisa says about her design, Tutu 2.0, “it’s inspired by two of my favourite things: tutus and my partner, who is Tsonga. While learning about his culture I came across the Xibelani skirt, which Tsonga women wear which reminded me of a tutu. If Africans had designed tutus they’d look like Xibelani, hence the name Tutu 2.0. This light is handcrafted and woven locally in Jo’burg.”


Samantha describes her Buhle Bulb as “versatile, sleek and proudly South African. It’s inspired by the contrasting textures of beads, Scooby wire and weaving, which are meaningful South African inspirations that immediately came to mind when I sat down to design this light. The round circles of necklaces and bracelets intrigue me and the minimalist design came together very quickly.”


Both designers win an order of 50 lights from Nando’s to be used in restaurants worldwide, support from Nando’s in the coming year and a free design and trade mark application for their winning light from intellectual property law practice Adams and Adams.