Acclaimed Photographer Austin Malema Listed In 2019’s Forbes Africa 30 Under 30

A highly acclaimed photographer, an award winning editor and a firm favourite in the South Africa’s creative industry, Austin Malema’s undeniable talent paired with his distinctive online personality has earned him a spot in the highly esteemed annual Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list. Aged 28, the photographer has been recognized by Forbes Africa as one of the young leading creatives who are inspiring and influencing the next generation of leaders in the continent. 

Launched in 2011 in the United States and now having grown internationally across Europe, Asia and Africa, the annual list acknowledges and celebrates pioneers who are building brands, creating jobs, and innovating, leading, transforming and contributing to new industries, in turn, changing the continent.

“It is such a prestigious platform and to be featured means that as a creative, I’m doing great. For Forbes Africa to recognize who I am and my contribution to the industry is an absolute honor. I grew up reading Forbes, which most of us did because of the richest or most successful hip hop artists or musicians and for me to be featured amongst these incredible game-changers simply put is a dream come true. Unexpected but definitely a welcomed surprise,” says the photographer.

This year marks the fifth milestone annual FORBES AFRICA 30 under 30 list. The selection process included endless background checks, fact-checks, emails, phone calls and research, sifting through over 1,000 nominations culminating to the class of 2019. A stellar collection of entrepreneurs and innovators rewriting rules and taking bold new risks to take Africa to the future.

Over the years he has made tremendous strides in his career to become one of the most prolific and sought after photographers in the country. He began shooting at events, which led to more bookings and he soon realized that the lens gave him greater access to musicians, actors and prominent individuals.

Since then, Austin has photographed for many brands globally and for events such as the South African Music Awards, the South African Film and Television Awards and the Global Citizen Festival. His work has also led to him photographing popular musicians such as Drake, Joey BadA$$, AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Beyoncé and Jay-Z and most recently David Beckham as his personal photographer when he’s in SA. Austin’s network, proficiency and portolfio have grown, moving him well beyond the ‘event photography’ box to include editorial, marketing and advertising and influencer photography and content creation to his large arsenal of skills

Born in rural Venda and having moved to Johannesburg as a teenager, Austin holds a BA Honors Degree in Motion Picture Medium from AFDA. He has also worked as a Junior Lecturer at his alma mater. As an editor, he has been involved in many successful projects – including SAFTA award and Student Academy Award nominated film Kanyekanye. He is also no stranger to the small screen, having played key editing roles for shows like The Queen and Skeem Saam.

Last year, he founded his first company, Pixel Kollective, with his two partners, Kelly Leuuw and Sivuyile Matsiliza. He has since announced his departure from the company and is soon to announce his new venture.


Having affirmed himself both nationally and in the continent, Austin now has his sights set globally.

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