ResiliArt Illustration exhibits young talent in the region

Specifically conceived for young people between the ages of 16 and 25, UNESCO in partnership with Blazer Magazine ran an illustration contest under the them #Resiliart, which received a tremendous response, with over 200 unique entries from talented young and emerging illustrators. The ResiliArt illustration contest sought to promote and enhance artistic and creative skills of young people during the time of the COVID 19 crisis. Entrants submitted Traditional Illustration (pencil, charcoal, pen, ink, etc.) and Modern Illustration (digital art, vector graphics etc.), with narratives that demonstrated the power of art and creativity in the face of challenges posed by COVID 19.

The entrant that won the first prize, Kris-Jan Delport from South Africa, encourages essential workers to keep working hard in these tough times. He wrote that the illustration, “…is based on the concept of a hero and specifically what defines a hero. It combines various visual signifiers of heroics into a design that is meant to give encouragement and praise to all of the essential workers that continue to maintain a functioning society disregarding their health and safety.”

Tsotlhe Morakenyane from Botswana in describing her illustration writes that, “House Arrest shows how domestic violence and abuse are also pandemics; it shows how the aforementioned box people in a dark place, as we see in the illustration, the face being surrounded by blackness and nothingness. Moreover, how the outside world is within reach and yet so far for victims, as we can note that some portion of the hand that is reaching out and is in clear view of the light while some of it, isn’t”.

An artist, Rudo Tuhwe from Zimbabwe, reflects on how art never sleeps as she used available materials to make her illustration. Shu used some fabric dye, manila, white tape, and colored pencils to create a unique integrated canvas, reflective of the diversity of communication channels that together are ultimately one, keeping us coupled to our families and friends.

Entries were closed on 01 June 2020 and the voting platform was opened social media for the audience award, an award that was to be voted by the public, outside rating by the Panel of Creatives. You can be amazed with some of the entries submitted on this link. 


  1. Dia-Login by Rudo Tuhwe from Zimbabwe (2048)


  1. COVID-19 Strike Act by Thabo Montsho from Botswana (157)
  2. COVID Rules The World by Wayne Nell from Zimbabwe (170)
  3. Full COVID Jacket by D’Angelo September from South Africa (153)
  4. House Arrest by Tsotlhe Morakenyane from Botswana (169)
  5. How I See It by Elisee Kalungwe from Zimbabwe (154)
  6. Inverted Reality by Hapi Aula from Namibia (163)
  7. Mask by Lethabo Huma from South Africa (157)
  8. Nuanced by Larissa Mwanyama from South Africa (161)
  9. Rooftop Culture in Quarantine by Kyra Hirson from South Africa (155.5)
  10. Stay Sane, Stay Safe, You Are Heroes by Kris-Jan Delport from South Africa (187

Resiliart illustration contest was framed within the UNESCO-Sida II project “Reshaping cultural policies for the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the diversity of cultural expressions” and the expressed need to respond to the current cultural emergency. The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa joined the ResiliArt global movement – a global UNESCO-led initiative to give voice to artists and cultural professionals in the face of the health crisis. By giving a voice to young artists and challenges that they face, and enhancing the visibility of their work as well as their resilience in the face of the health crisis, this initiative contributes strengthening the capacities of civil society and fostering freedom of artistic expression, two of the core components of the UNESCO-Sida II project. The illustration contest which directly targeted young people responded additionally to UNESCO Global Priority for Youth.

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