Firstly I have known Mweneni since 6th grade, so its been like 14 years of friendship. She is quite the opposite of me in many ways but the few things we do have in common are the best things about us both.
She graduated as a Civil Engineer in 2016 from the Namibia University of Science and Technology, she works for the Roads Contractor Company as an engineer in training and is currently completing her Masters in Transport at the University of Cape Town. I had the pleasure of interviewing her, simply because I would like to share her story as a engineering graduate whose passion also lies in combining gifting, making art, interior design and event planning. She clearly has a vision for what she wants to do with her life and its truly admirable. Below are her thoughts to some of my questions.
Think back to your childhood. What did you hope to become as an adult?
I know for sure that the first thing I wanted to be was a judge. Because I am for fairness and equality. And then an astronaut; space is magic, it is unfathomable and I wanted to, to be close to that. But I then realized I had a thing for spaces, for products, for art. I am keen to make everyday life easier, so at heart I am a product designer.
What led to your pursuit in Civil Engineering? What future do you see in that field for yourself?
It excites me that I get to be part of constructing the physical fabric of societies. Assisting governments and influential organization in making just and sustainable infrastructure investments is something I especial am quite keen to do. Specifically in the transportation sector which has great influence on our economies and plays an important role in development at larger and poverty alleviation
Tell us about Zuri Gifting consultancy? How did it all begin? What do you enjoy most about gift consulting?
Zuri Gift Consulting is an arm of Zuri Design Den. A design company I start this year that does gift consultancy, graphics, interior design, packaging and product design. It is all a part of my journey to publicly becoming the product designer I am. Zuri gift consultancy was developed because I realized (from observation and experience) there isn’t much thought put behind gifts lately. People pick what is trending or what is commonly picked. And this extents to companies and all sorts of events. So ZGC seeks to answer who, why, when, how part of gifting that is often overlooked and eventually come to a meaningful what (what gift to pick).
You also make beautiful framed art? What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
Yes I do. (Big smile). With the current framed roses art , I want it to remind people that like roses, we are internally beautiful as we were made and that brings a sense of peace and stillness which what I strive to accomplish in all my art work.
Where do you feel most creative, and are there any environments which lowers your productivity? I am most creative when I am happy and when I am under a lot of pressure. So it’s not really about where for me. But I love sitting on my bedroom floor (just saying).
What are your motivations for creating? Is approval from others one of them? Why or why not? Filling the gap. I create to fill the gaps that I feel and other people feel and experience in everyday life. I try to fill them as much as I can. Approval really matters to me when it comes to interior design, because it’s someone’s space and they should have peace with it. Other design aspects, if functionality, sustainability, and efficiency are in question then I listen to that. So approval for that quite maters .
Which creative people do you admire? Why?
Oh Karina, this is a big one. So from the top of my head.
Augusto – he sees in landscape what people could only see on vacation
Kevin & Merja – he is constantly growing and it only gets better. I like the stability I get here. I once saw Merja in CNA and I was fanning out in silent of course (covers eyes). She is entrepreneurial artist goals.
Lulu – she is nurturing, she so like the well informed, well versed big sister of all creatives. She is creative education goals. I love that she is at New school.
Vara and Anna – they are just amazing at what they do. I most definitely see them going place. It’s exciting.
Karina – she is art. You look at her you know what she is about and what a beautiful thing to truly be able to embody who you are every day.
How do you define success?
Affording mango strips. (Laughs). Just to mean success is in the small things for me. When big things happen that’s grace.
What do you think needs to happen in order for the local creatives to realize and live out their full potential? What are they lacking? What support do they need?
They need an awaken nation. They need the people around them to stop and realize it matters how your home looks, what art is in your space, how things are made. I believe we lack materials to make things. And established places where we can get our things (designs) made.
If you had to be any of these things, which would you like to be?
a) a member of the opposite sex, b) a clock, c) a pair of shoes, d) a duck
Please explain your choice.
Why dos this feel like a crazy question? Almost like those “are you human fill in the letters below “questions on internet forms.
I am human, I promise.
A clock, seems like a chilled job.
Lastly, list 5 things on your bucket list!
- Euro trip
- Hiking (One of the cape town hills)
- Nam south tour
Photo Credits: Karina Shilongo