Our February/March tour to Africa started this time in South Africa where the country is celebrating its 20 years of democracy. The end of Apartheid in South Africa is one of the success stories of the continent. Despite the remaining inequality in the society the country is transforming and alleviating poverty and enabling the uplifting of unprivileged communities into the middle class.
And as Cape Town is named the 2014 World Design Capital, we met a young generation of South Africans from all walks of life and all skin colours that are self confident and proud of the achievements of their country and are more than ready to boost their countries leading position in Africa.
This year, the Design Indaba, the internationally renowned Design Conference and Expo also celebrated its 20th anniversary of championing design. The Design Indaba not only pays homage to the design industry and creativity but it also shows new sustainable ways of doing business. More than hundred mainly South African and other African designer were showcasing their products at this year’s Design Expo. We had the opportunity to talk to the designers in person and to get to know them. Some of our new discoveries like MAXHOSA by Laduma, a designer with modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection or Snap Originals a fire-fighter turned designer whose passion is to produce beautiful products of used and snapped skateboards are already represented on our platform www.dubaruba.com. More designers like Tic Tac Toe, the kids brand form Cape Town or Mingo Lamberti, the playful design house with their cushion cover ranges and men’s T-Shirts are to follow in the coming days and weeks.
Photo: Maxhosa by Laduma
After a successful trip to South Africa our journey continued in Kenya where we discovered the delicious Kenyan tea (I will write more about the Kenyan tea in another blog article). Kenya is one of the biggest black tea producers in the world and has been supplying the biggest and high quality tea brands for a long time. We are working to introduce a pure Kenyan high quality tea in the coming months. The Massai Shuka blankets, Kenya’s most recognizable red attire of the Massai people is another long sought product that we are finally offering on our online store.
The most incredible thing we noticed and what many designers of Africa have in common is their sense for upcycling materials. The lack of capital resources and infrastructure is challenging and advancing the creativity of the designers to use all kinds of useful materials to produce their end products. There is for example “The Wren Design”, who is producing stylish tech sleeves from cement packaging rejects or bags from the coffee sacks that have transported coffee beans all around the world or “Quazi Design” the Swaziland Company that is turning wasted magazine papers into stunning jewelleries and household decorations.