11 November 2021

Students take top honours at prestigious jewellery design competition

To say that TUT students dominated this year’s Shining Light Awards (SLA), a De Beers Group Designers Initiative (DBGDI), would be a bit of an understatement. All three South African winners are students from the University’s Department of Design Studies (Jewellery Design and Manufacture programme) and wowed the judges with their spectacular designs.

Tebogo Shaun Ledwaba was named the South African winner of the prestigious competition, and Kgaugelo Mphela and Roelien Geldenhuys runner-up, and second runner-up, respectively. They are all third-year students.

Tebogo’s collection is entitled Icebow and he says he drew inspiration from this natural phenomenon for his designs, especially for the diamond formation.

Tebogo, who hails from Mamelodi, says he was overwhelmed when he heard the news that he has won the competition. “It shows me that people believe in me and also that I should believe in myself more.”

He has won a 12-month post-graduate scholarship at Poly.Design - Polytechnic di Milano, in Milan, Italy.

Upon completion of his studies, he plans to start his own jewellery design business, and pursue fashion design, another of his passions.

Kgaugelo won a 12-month artisan hands-on jewellery manufacturing training with Akapo Jewellers, while Roelien bagged a three-month De Beers internship.

Tebogo Shaun Ledwaba, South African winner of this year’s Shining Light Awards, flanked by Kgaugelo Mphela (runner-up), and Roelien Geldenhuys (second runner-up).

Originally launched in 1995, the SLA has grown to include submissions from new graduates of jewellery design programmes in Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. For the 2020-2021 awards, twelve finalists, three from each country, were chosen from a record 123 entries. 

Each entry included designs for a full jewellery collection – a ring, necklace, earrings, as well as bangles and bracelets. This year’s design theme, The Evolution of Love and Life, aimed to inspire young designers to create innovative and game-changing pieces showcasing their interpretation of the concept. 

The pieces were versatile and included a combination of commerciality with red-carpet elegance, celebrated fresh thinking, showcased the beauty, strength, and sustainability of natural diamonds, and appealed to a millennial consumer anywhere in the world. 

Mpumi Zikalala, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, says: “The Shining Light Award recipients are very much like the rough diamonds we recover that get turned into beautiful gemstones. Through the program we are able to help the winners polish their talent and gain world-class skills to get a foothold in the jewellery design industry. We are proud of the fact that some of our previous winners have gone to establish their own businesses, while others are working in jewellery design houses. Critical to the success of the Awards has been the partnerships we continue to have with institutions of higher learning, industry organisations, and the Poli.Design and Polytecnic di Milano, in Italy.”

The judges for the competition were chosen by De Beers and included past winners, comprising many TUT alumni. This year, De Beers also launched a beneficiation project for past winners. They were invited to design a range of jewellery that will be sold. This project is called Tirisano Mmogo

The five past winners that were invited to partake in this initiative are all TUT alumni:

  • Lilja Hastie (winner 2014 -2015)
  • Hunadi Thlomatsana (winner 2010-2012)
  • Madeli Viljoen (runner-up 2014-2015)
  • Malefa Phoofolo (winner 2018-2019)
  • Bheki Ngema (winner 2008-2009)

In congratulating this year’s winners, Nina Newman, lecturer at the Jewellery Design and Manufacture programme, says: “I am so incredibly proud of my students’ achievements. They have worked very hard throughout the years, and now they can reap the rewards. Well done!”

For further information about De Beers Group, visit: www.debeersgroup.com

       Jewellery pieces that formed part of Tebogo’s winning collection, entitled Icebow. PHOTOS: De Beers

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711 / +27 66 211 1441   Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za