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Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active part of shaping the story, and at the same time giving you a window into what is happening on the ground through the video’s electric montage of music events, fashion shows, street festivals workshops and more.



This introductory Africa.Now video zooms in on the wave of optimism that is sweeping the African continent and how the creative community has latched onto it, using it to fuel the outpouring of creative expression that for me has been and is a privilege to witness. A sentiment that is touched upon by Ugandan fashion designer Edward Sempa who in the video voices what many see as Africa being the last frontier, a place offering up a lot of opportunities that the world’s decision-makers are paying close attention to and in the process trying “…to grab a piece of Africa anyway that they can.” This latter observation makes it important for Africa’s creative community to work together to be in control of shaping a future that benefits all economically and socially.


Design Indaba Africa Now Series Weaving

“…what we really want to do is have an economic impact” Mamadou Wane, fashion and jewellery designer, Senegal


Taking us through the continent’s diverse countries starting with Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, The Ivory Coast, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Morocco the Africa.Now series is a journey of discovery introducing us to hi and lo-tech innovations and the real-life solutions that reflect a rapidly changing continent, “one, which is redefining the traditional exchange between the so-called first and third worlds.” An exchange that is driven by a need to change the historical portrayals of Africa to those that speak of the vibrant cultures, visuals, and dynamism that Africans are so proud of.


“With technology not just VR, we need to be critical about all the different implications that arise from it open a doorway to a whole different future.” – Jonathan Dotse, social entrepreneur, Ghana



Design Indaba Africa Now Series Weaving


This introductory video is just a taster to what promises to be an eye-opening journey into the dynamic and exciting world of a creative Africa that is not a wishful imagining but of an Africa that is, and I look forward to bring you more.


– Tapiwa Matsinde


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To find out more about Design Indaba:


[Image credits: The images shown are stills from the Africa.Now video and belong to Design Indaba. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive