Diaspora: An Architectural Masters Exhibition


I was approached by my first year lecturer, Rodney Harber, some weeks after my final dissertation presentation, while in my home town of Durban.

Professor Harber was keen to arrange an exhibit of the two design distinction students from UKZN who had completed their Masters at the University of Pretoria. Not being one to let go of an opportunity to self publicise I jumped at the opportunity and even offered to design the event invite.

Below is the speech Rodney presented at the opening night ( taken from the KZNIA website):

Rodney Harber’s introduction at the Exhibition Opening on 12th April 2012:

Diaspora is a consequence of an architecture education crisis in KZN, arising from the possible suspension of validation at UKZN, DUT courses ending after only four years as well as the severely reduced capacity for students to get a place in the Masters programmes leading to professional qualification. Many students have applied up to three times!

Diaspora is about our local students having to fan out all over the country, and as far afield asNew Zealand, to further their careers. A DUT student is accepted at UCT this year – he was offered a place at UJ,Pretoria and Cape Town- there was no space for him locally! Every school of architecture inSouth Africacurrently has UKZN students enrolled from this Diaspora.

The problem is that a significant number of these are likely to remain elsewhere, thereby draining our local pool.

In 2010 when I was on the thesis panel at PretoriaI realised that I had taught 18% of that group in first year at UKZN! A huge proportion of that class, who had been forced to relocate to complete their studies.

This is when the idea of holding this exhibition took root. It is to express a sincere thank you to the School of Architecture at the University of Pretoria, in particular, for helping the KZNIA. During the 2011 thesis examinations two students, also from the same first year at UKZN, achieved outstanding results. We are very grateful to Jhono Bennett and Byron Snow for displaying their output of this Diaspora here this evening. It illustrates what has been lost toDurban!

Jhono thesis tackles housing, informality and incremental growth and Byron’s the development of the market atMaputo, a significant design of a complex urban building in a developmental situation with co-operation between Eduardo Montlane University in Maputo and Delft.

Prof Karel Bakker wanted to open the exhibition but couldn’t make it.

Byron and Myself


 Rodney presenting the work
Byron Snow presenting his project


My work on display #1 
My work on display #2
My work on display #3 
Nina, myself, Rodney & Byron 

The highlight of my evening was a conversation with another of my first year lectures, Derek Van Heerdan;

Me:       Hi Derek, nice to see you here.
Derek: Hi Jhono, I never knew pigs could fly until I got here tonight. 
Me:      Thanks?