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Shining Star: Rebranding IKwekwezi FM

IKwekwezi FM is a beloved South African radio station—since 1983, it has broadcasted in the Ndebele language and been an important voice of the Ndebele culture, which is known for its vibrant visual expression, including bright colors and bold geometric patterns. The station’s logo hadn’t been redesigned in more than 20 years, and Osmond Tshuma wanted to create something that reflected the station’s cultural legacy as well as the modern, urban life of many of its listeners.

The old logo (top) and the new one.

We last checked in with Osmond Tshuma in 2014, when a typeface he’d designed— Colonial Bastard Rhodes—earned him a Create Magazine “Best of Behance” nod. Since then, the Zimbabwe-born, South Africa–based designer has been doing more interesting work. He explains the IKwekwezi FM project on his Behance page: “The logo required a redesign that could uphold Ndebele heritage and culture but give it the freshness and vigor it needs to take its place in the modern South African landscape. It also needed to live up to the brand’s new pay-off line: ‘Kukhanya Bha!’—which means ‘shining bright.’” 

THE APPROACH 

The name IKwekwezi means “star” and “achievement,” so Tshuma’s design maintains the iconic Ndebele star at the heart of the design.

Tshuma says, “We also researched the culture’s traditions and art, taking inspiration for the logo design from the Ndebele’s beautiful, bright colors in fashion (traditional regalia), mural art, and bead work. The colors used in the design all have a specific meaning, and were carefully chosen for their symbolism. In addition, we looked at the geometric designs Ndebele artwork is famous for and cross-referenced this with modern art, urban patterns, and textures to find a happy meeting point.” 

A custom typeface brings the logo to life.  

THE LOGO YOU CAN LISTEN TO 

Tshuma says, “Key to [our approach] was incorporating the symbolic concept of a modern-day radio speaker into the design of the logo, to represent the fact that the radio station is the sound of the AmaNdebele. When one looks at the logo, it delivers the illusion of movement, mimicking a speaker playing at full volume.” 

The result is an exciting, engaging identity. Learn more about the project on Osmond Tshuma’s Behance page.