The SWAADY Group, creators of the luxury tea brand YSWARA, have created Akrafo a range of luxury premium organic artisanal teas, and gourmet sweet and savoury condiments ethically made in Africa. The name Akrafo refers to the soul-washers of the ancient Ashanti kingdom, who were responsible for the well-being of the community. And it is this spirit of looking out for others that is instilled into the Akrafo ethos, which upholds the SWAADY Group’s Luxe Ubuntu philosophy, of creating luxury brands with a social responsibility.
The 22nd September 2017 saw the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa, heralded as being the first major institution on the African continent dedicated to collecting, researching and preserving the art of contemporary Africa and its diaspora.
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.
The PPC Imaginarium Awards is an ambitious South African art and design competition aimed at providing emerging artists and designers with the opportunity to showcase their talents through the medium of concrete. Launched several years ago as a project of the innovation department of South African cement production company, PPC Ltd, the awards have since grown in stature with this years Awards attracting 869 registered entries, from which 55 finalists have been chosen. The PPC Imaginarium Awards features five categories: Film, Industrial Design, Sculpture, Fashion and Jewellery all presenting an array of exciting and imaginative works that demonstrate the versatility and unexpected beauty of concrete. An overall winner will be chosen, along with category winners and runner-ups on May 18th 2017.
Siyanda Mbele is a rising star in the contemporary South African furniture and product design industry. His streamlined and stylish designs regularly reference his Zulu heritage. We caught up with the designer to find out a bit more about his inspirations and the importance of culture to design:
1. What led you to furniture design, how long have you been working in the industry, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
I have always been interested in created objects. At first, I was obsessed with drawing/ designing cars. Gradually I started loving furniture specifically tables, this was back in 2009. After finishing my first year in University, I knew for sure that I want to pursue furniture design. I have been in the industry since 2013, never had a full-time job, and always been part-time. I enjoy designing and seeing the final product, and what happens in-between that is normally crazy.
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.
There is nothing I love more than a good cup of tea, the stronger the better. Anytime is teatime as far as I am concerned, so you can only imagine what I think about those who take their tea as seriously as I do. Like YSWARA for instance, the luxury tea brand championing made in Africa, who are reviving the ceremony of ancient African tea drinking rituals with its offering of specially blended teas and accompanying accessories. And now you can immerse yourself fully in the YSWARA brand experience with the launch of their flagship tearoom and store in Johannesburg.
Legendary South African fashion designer Marianne Fassler has teamed up with luxury made in Africa tea and lifestyle brand YSWARA to create a limited edition scented candle for Orange Babies, a Dutch HIV NGO with a local South African branch that works to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV as well as helping children affected by HIV/AIDS to live a better life.