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List of Projects

MPAHLWA, Luyanda

Born: 1958


Luyanda MPAHLWA, born 1958 in Mthatha, South Africa, started his architectural studies in Durban South Africa, at the University of Natal in 1978. He proceeded to Natal Technikon for an Architectural Diploma, which he completed in Robben Island Prison in 1982 where he was incarcerated for his anti-apartheid political activities. After his release from a 5 year prison term in 1986, he went into exile in Germany through the assistance of Amnesty International, where he completed his Architectural degree – MSc/Dipl.-Ing – at the Technical University of Berlin (TU-Berlin) in 1997.

Luyanda joined MMA Architects as a partner in the same year, whilst at the same time working as a free lance Architect in Berlin for three years. With the political changes and thus the re-location of the German capital from Bonn to Berlin, Luyanda was introduced to embassy architecture and became a site architect for the project of the Nordic embassies. This experience led to MMA being awarded the contract for the design of the South African Embassy in Berlin, completed in 2003, for which Luyanda was the coordinating architect.

In 2000 he relocated to South Africa where he founded the Cape Town studio of MMA Architects, which he developed into a dynamic and creative space for architecture and interior design. It is during this time that Luyanda built his profile in the architectural community and built environment in South Africa. His architectural work expresses a contemporary design aesthetic, influenced by strong references to African culture and tradition.

From 2005 – 2010, Luyanda served on the 2010 Soccer World Cup Organising Committee Technical Team in an advisory capacity and provided oversight project management for the construction of all World Cup stadia in South Africa.

He is currently the director of the practice DESIGN SPACE AFRICA.


All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

List of projects

With photographs
With notes

St John's Mission Church, (Second Pro-Cathedral): 1900 : 2014. Mthatha, Eastern Cape - Design Architect

Entries in books by MPAHLWA

Mpahlwa, Luyanda . 4.6 Reclaiming the Past : Our Heritage, Our Cultures, Our Future. In Theorising Architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa : Perspectives, Questions, and Concepts. 2021. DOM publishers