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Best of British: Seth Shezi

The self-proclaimed ‘creative polymath’ discusses his work with Obsidian Studio, his international endeavours, the creative projects that fuel his passions, and his journey from Cape Town to London

By Jared Ruttenberg

Sitting on the terrace at Soho House, we’re surrounded by a collective of London’s slick creatives – a space where Seth Shezi is clearly at home. He’s a man who doesn’t easily fall into categories; having known him for over six years I’ve watched him weave creative threads through a multitude of spaces.

Not surprising then, the appropriateness of the term ‘creative polymath’, which he feels most comfortable identifying with. In Cape Town, his creative direction took the form of Obsidian Studio – an agency assisting brands to, in Seth’s words, “connect the dots between lifestyle and experiences – particularly with communicating old-world luxury in a new-world context.”

Notwithstanding his previous love for London, after working with whiskey brand Haig Club in the UK around five years ago, his interest in the capital grew. Wanting to give his work an international footprint, he spent longer stints in London. While still firmly planted in the South African context, he was perfectly placed to assist brands with entering the African market. Fast forward to the present and he has fully dived into the sparrow lifestyle.

While he sings London’s praises, he is quick to remind me that “Cape Town is always my first love.” In addition to his agency work, several projects weave themselves around his time and passions. Littlegig is one of these that he speaks animatedly about. The micro-festival is an annual gathering of 80 creatives, with engaging talks, art and music performances, screenings and mind-bending surprises, with the venue alternating between Lamu, Kenya and Venice, Italy.

His podcast Breaking Eggs is another of his creative threads and was set up as a “way of teaching myself and gleaning from others in what I’ve identified as central life pillars – personal relationships, mindset, wealth building, wellness, and impact.”

London with Seth

Your go-to breakfast/brunch spot? My co-working office space, the vibey 180 House, which is a Soho House spot located near Somerset House. South Africans have the awesome chance to take a Cities Without Houses membership which allows for the full use of all the houses across the globe.

A memorable London first? The first time I saw a full-scale solo exhibition at The Tate by a fellow Durbanite was emotional. Zanele Maholi’s exhibition is currently running and it must be seen as a hallmark of inclusion.

Your favourite weekend getaway spot? Soho Farmhouse near the Cotswolds is unbeatable. It combines rustic wood cabin living with chic comfort, offering great dining, a spa, and horse riding.

A London hidden gem? A restaurant called Kiln, a hole in the wall favoured by chefs as their spot to go after service. You sit on the counter and watch the cooking as it goes up in flames before you.

Your favourite park/green space in London? Victoria Park, especially in the summer. This year I’m going to see SZA, Sampha and Snoh Aalegra, three of my favourites on one stage!

An unmissable London cultural experience? The art in London is next level, and the scale and level of the curation are mind-expanding. The White Cube gallery recently showed works by a Norval Foundation alumnus, Cinga Samson’s work.

What do you miss most from back in South Africa when you’re in London? The people, and the food, South Africans are a unique breed, when you’re away, you miss even just being surrounded by the jovial chatter.

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