Thembelani Frame

​Thembelani Nqaketha is a picture framer from Langa. He straddles the four worlds of his native Eastern Cape, his home in Langa, the local tourist market and the Cape Town art scene. He is unique in the sense that he is the only picture framer in the Cape Flat, producing gallery quality frames in a location where art and framing is traditionally undervalued.

Through directed workshops, the design process attempted to better represent value inherent in the business by extracting the unique story of Thembelani and reinvesting this in his frames. In positioning his framing services as having a personal narrative Thembelani can differentiate himself from the framers in central Cape Town and also develop ‘Thembelani Frames’ for sale as products in their own right.

The diversification of income streams in the form of the ‘Thembelani Frames’ can help to drive sales in one-off frames, and vice-versa. This cross-pollination occurs by using these frames as communication and marketing tools as much as products in themselves. They demonstrate a full range of framing techniques and are intended to be constructed from framing off-cuts, a currently under-utilised resource in the business. The frames therefore represent a low risk investment.

The design outputs intend to provide a methodology for Thembelani to develop his own unique style and continue to weave his narrative into his business, leaving a recognisable visual signature that defines the quality frames he produces and communicates the value of framing.


Cape Town, South Africa

Thembelani Nqaketha

Thami Baba

Andrew Slack
Bentley Farrington
Huishan Ma
Tom Martinez