Tandekile Mkize is a content producer, freelance stylist and photographer based in Cape Town.
His styling and content production is created under his creative house titled Thug Alchemy. Tandekile states that "the content produced under Thug Alchemy aims to expose human limitlessness by stripping away the conditions of our existence to encourage individuals to allow their special nature to shine through."
His work explores black and queer identities and speaks of the complexities and diversity within these communities. He draws inspiration from his own experiences as a young black queer African and often makes use of his own body as the subject in his work in order to cut the distance between himself and the audience.
Drawing himself closer to the audience is something he has been able to achieve online and IRL; this year Tandekile participated in the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives Program and the 100% Design South Africa Convention which have assisted in taking his work to new heights. This shoot created in collaboration with fashion and street style photographer Andile Phewa is inspired by change and elevation. Moving from one form of being into another. Letting go of ideas of who we should be and embracing the possibilities of who we could be.
Tandekile's journey into creativity was as humble as most; "I started out my creative/styling journey by modelling and styling myself." It was in 2015 after being academically excluded from UCT (University of Cape Town) and feeling lost that Tandekile felt the need to creatively express himself and find himself again.
"This shoot was a reminder of my journey, after this shoot I was taking stock of where I’ve been and where I want to be. It was a moment of reflection of the past few years and the incredible opportunities for personal growth."
Tandekile's visual narrative serves as a mirror for all of us to be able to reflect on our journeys, shed the things that deter us and explore those that expose our limitlessness.