• Staff writer


Sbu Dladla (pictured) is the new national judge for the South African Landscapers Institute. He studied landscape architecture at the University of Pretoria, but after his second year, could not continue for financial reasons. After working in the banking sector for some time, he saved up enough money and was able to continue his studies, registering for the landscape technology course at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

Here he met (the late) Lynton Johnson, who mentored him and taught him ‘so much’. Says Dladla: “Lynton was an ocean of knowledge and through our interactions, we worked together on many of his private projects. Towards the end of my academic studies, he took me to River Lodge Farm where I met Keith Kirsten. I asked him if he would help pay for my studies and got an even sweeter deal; Keith is not a fan of ‘charity’ in the sense of people getting something without working for it, and he therefore gave me a project. This was to design his neighbour’s garden in return for the neighbour paying for my studies.”

Through Kirsten, Dladla met two other industry heavyweights, Raymond Hudson and David Davidson, who inspired him to learn more about landscape design, his present focus area. He says he loves the challenge of re-creating spaces in a functional yet aesthetically pleasing way, on a piece of land.

Johnson introduced Dladla to landscape judging when they judged gardens in Gauteng at Lifestyle Garden Centre, the Soweto Garden Club, Plantland, Gardenex and the Garden World Spring Festival. “It was therefore a natural fit when I was asked to replace my colleague Dr Kara-Lee Prinsloo as a SALI regional judge, and I have now been entrusted with the role of national judge for 2020-2021,” says Dladla. He has been amazed by the wonderful work done by SALI members around the country, with each region “embracing its uniqueness and celebrating it through design.”


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