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POWER PLAY II – Meet Ndabo Langa, not your average architect, he is a man with extraordinary creativity, great vision and an entrepreneur with a difference. He is also a passionate Durbanite. This much is obvious as he has boldly ventured into an area of the city which for many years had been rampant with vagrants and vandalism and created a venue which has grown in both popularity and stature since its inception and is now safely one of the city’s most talked about ‘hotspots’.

Many have come to know him as the owner of The Chairman but the legend of Mr. Langa has been around for a lot longer than his famous club jazz club.

An architect by profession and an artist at heart, Ndabo, has been responsible for some of the most iconic buildings on the Durban landscape, including uShaka Marine World and The Suncoast complex, where his company collaborated with various international architects.

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His aptly named company, Diverse Group of Independent Thinkers (DGIT) clearly describes the character of the man. He does think different, he does think out of the box and his vision for his beloved Durban is one where the essence of what Durban is, is retained and he is doing a fine job being an example of what this actually means. His company DGIT is currently working on the new hospital at Bridge City, Kwa Mashu. But Ndabo did not always know that he would be an architect, it was while still at school when his Biology teacher kept asking him to draw the diagrams on the board that he realised he had a gift. He wanted to find a way to use his gift in a way where he could both make a decent living and a difference. Enter architecture.

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Having matriculated from a typical township school in Kwa Mashu, Ndabo went on to graduate from The University of Natal (where he was denied entry on his first application) and from there his journey began.

His dad, the late Chief Justice Pius Langa, had become accustomed to how unusual his youngest son’s thinking was.

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After all, when Ndabo told his parents he wanted to be an architect, he had to explain to both his late mum (a nurse) and his dad exactly what it was that an architect did. So when he drove his dad down to the Point to have a look at the run down old bottle store/bar that he had bought, it was no surprise that the old man just chuckled. By then, he had come to expect the unexpected from Ndabo.

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Married to the beautiful Mpume, the couple have two children and it is no wonder that both the children are gifted musicians playing both violin and the piano. Ndabo is a dab hand at creating fantastic cocktails and has a crazy obsession with watches. Mpume, aside from all the very serious qualifications is also a qualified Image Consultant. Clearly, like Mpume said ‘balance’ perfectly describes this relationship.

Through all the individual and joint success, this powerful yet playful couple remain humble and their obvious love for each other brings to mind a term my daughter is always touting ‘relationship goals’. what wonderful role models Ndabo and Mpume make for us all.

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146 Mahatma Gandhi Rd

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