Creative. Driven. Addicted to personality. This photographer is changing the game


Themba Mbuyisa is already thinking about death. And he’s still in his twenties. The fast-rising style photographer isn’t worried about what comes after. He’s concerned about what’s left behind. And while the end of his years will sever his connection with the shutter, what Mbuyisa creates before then will last forever. “Photography is my way of imagining immortality,” he says.

It’s a romantic outlook on his profession, but Mbuyisa didn’t grow up thinking he would be a photographer. After school he started studying towards a BSc at the University of the Witwatersrand. And it was only when things didn’t work out that Mbuyisa found himself taking part in a photography course at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. The change of direction suited him well, perhaps in part due to his belief that what is meant to be will find you.

Success followed swiftly for Mbuyisa, who has made his name in street style photography. He was named Elle’sTop Choice in 2013 and in 2016 secured a job with the publication after being named as its Top Style Reporter of the Year. The post has already seen him work at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. And while things are going well Mbuyisa holds on to the greater goal of leaving behind something meaningful when his time is up. It’s a mature approach to life, and one that can only contribute to creating a better South Africa.