Water Hyacinth is a plant that takes root in waterways the world over, causing destruction to aquatic and plant eco-systems. For communities that rely on their waterways for food, livelihoods, and transportation water hyacinth blocks access to the water essential to their survival. In Nigeria, a local social enterprise, MitiMeth, is harvesting water hyacinth and turning it into functional handcrafted products, and empowering members of the local community.
Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with the October opening fast approaching I am delighted to share with you the details and introduce the amazing designers and artisanal talent I selected, as follows
Paris is having a love affair with all things contemporary Africa design, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. First is was Africa as the guest of honour at the Paris Art Fair held in March/April, then Africa Now at the Galeries Lafayette shopping destination, and now the iconic department store Le BHV Marais in the heart of the historic and trendy Marais district, which dedicates almost two months to celebrating contemporary South African art and design and culture.
Olivia Knox is an interior accessories company born out of seeing the beauty in Ankole horn, which has a distinctive light ivory colour. The company was founded by Olivia Byanyima who hails from Uganda and lives in New York, and Shanley Knox from California, and is driven by the story of Olivia’s childhood in Uganda, where she spent a lot of time on her father’s ranch watching his herd of Ankole cattle roam the surrounding plains alongside buffalo, zebra, leopard, and lion.
Just in time for the Christmas season of giving Aduna Baobab has released a collection of gift tins each covered in one of the brand’s signature African print textile inspired patterns, accentuated with a pop art twist. The tins are designed to store favourite foods and snacks or to give as gifts.
Mhondoro Game Lodge in Welgevonden Reserve, South Africa opened in early 2016 and seeks to move beyond being just another luxury Africa travel bush destination. Designed to give guests a seamless experience of luxury interiors and bushveld landscape Mhondoro Game Lodge combines cutting-edge architecture with some of the best in African design interior inspiration. The Mhondoro Game Lodge was created by interior designer Myriam Vogel who co-owns the lodge with her husband Frank.
The newsletter of textile designer Eva Sonaike introduced me to a stylish range of African inspired cooking utensils by The Aga Concept, a design and lifestyle brand that is inspired by culture and everyday living in Africa. For a lot of Zimbabweans living abroad, and most likely for a lot of Africans in general, cooking traditional food is simply not the authentic experience we crave without the traditional utensils from home, usually brought back on every trip, because buying and using that wooden spoon or pestle and mortar from your local store is somehow just not the same. Our traditional utensils have been created just right for producing each dish. And this is the ethos behind The Aga Concept’s beautiful collection of ergonomically design cooking utensils inspired by African culture.