Think different Dobby!

“Who wants to learn?”

Gogo Mo Groch asked that question when she arrived on the Londolozi scene in 2007. And, in Dobby Khumalo’s own words, “I was the first staff member to tell Gogo ‘I want to learn’”.

Today, Dobby runs Londolozi’s Print Shop. He is set up with an Apple MacBook, and sits at the desk adjacent to artist-in-residence and designer, Simon Bannister.

Why is that significant?

“I am learning more and more about graphic design and I assist Simon in this area” says Dobby. “Simon taught me the design basics in just three months. He’s cool, he’s calm and we work well together. I am sure many people will know I am lucky to sit next to him.”

Dobby is from the nearby, rural town of Mkhulu, and the high schools that he went to did not offer computer literacy subjects (Note: even today many high schools in the area simply do not have the resources to adequately train students in computer literacy).  So – to be honest – I am a little surprised to find Dobby so at ease behind the lit up Apple logo. I almost want to scratch my head.

“So what did you do before this Dobby?”

“I was a bus driver” comes the answer. And the plot thickens.

Dobby drove the Londolozi staff bus for four years, transporting staff in and out of the reserve on a daily basis. After dropping the staff off in the mornings, it was too far to return to town, so Dobby would spend most of the day working at Londolozi’s Craft Centre.

He would produce sculptures, experiment with wire and beads, and produce work that embodied the area, its people and the values of Londolozi. It was where Dobby discovered his eye for detail, and his love of art.

But then – in 2007 – almost immediately after Gogo asked “who wants to learn” Dobby started a typing course in the Learning Centre.

Shortly after, he asked Gogo to introduce him to the Microsoft Office products, and the rest is history: “It wasn’t long before Gogo was asking me for help” laughs Dobby.

Dobby has completed his International Computer Driving License (ICDL) through Good Work Foundation, and finished as one of Londolozi’s top students.

“My favourite program is Illustrator” says Dobby, “but I also work in Photoshop and In-design. Heidi-Lee, who used to be in charge of Londolozi’s Craft Centre, gave me her old Mac, and then Simon showed me how to use it. Thanks very much to both of them. A career in graphic design is impossible without the hardware – and without a good teacher – I wouldn’t have learnt as fast as I have.”

“Dobby is an ideas person” says Kate Groch, CEO of Good Work Foundation. “He often spends his leave at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, learning more or sharing what he knows with others. Without a doubt, Dobby is an honorary member of the Good Work Foundation team.”

In true “Mac” style, Dobby has an artistic connection. He is named after the American singer, Dobie Gray of “Drift Away” fame.

A quiet cat who appreciates accuracy in the lines of a simple wire sculpture, who knows a thing or two about design, who is inspired by one of America’s great soul singers.

Now that’s a story that speaks directly to the heart of Apple Inc.’s founding fathers!

Think different Dobby!