Mokena Makeka: Urban thinker, designer and philosopher

Mokena Makeka has been making waves in the world of architecture for the past nine years. He prefers to call himself an urban thinker, designer and philosopher rather than merely architect. Makeka is fascinated by cities - the potential and limits of cities, and how South African cities are the result of socio-political settlement constructs.


In a talk at the 2010 Design Indaba, he shared his thoughts on what the 21st century is about and how design should be responding. These thoughts are just as relevant today as it was four year ago.

Listen to the talk on


Makeka, who heads Makeka Design Lab, quoted on his team in an interview with Destiny Man (2013): “I run my studio as a place of learning and enquiry with a purpose.  We seek to inspire our clients and take them on a unique journey from which everybody grows... They [my staff] are all hungry to do well actually and everyone is very humble but confident.  They all have a slight quirkiness which makes them interesting individuals. [R]emember architecture is an art; it requires personality, intellect, stamina and bravery. I like it when people surprise me.  It makes me run harder. That’s inspiring.”