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Atelier Fifty Five by Tapiwa Matsinde African Design Writing and Publishing Liz Riley Photography
Writing & Publishing

I feel very privileged that I can, through my writing, bring to life the stories about the people, places and things that inspire me, so those stories may inspire others.

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Books & Articles

I feel very privileged that I can, through my writing, bring to life the stories about the people, places, and things that inspire me, so those stories may inspire others.

Coming from a graphic design background, I have long been a visual storyteller. Revealing the stories of people and the businesses they build through design is part of the art of branding which was my work for a long time.

But it wasn’t until I wrote and published my first blog post in 2010 that my love of the written word was truly unleashed. Words both written and spoken are powerful — they shape our perceptions, our beliefs, our visions, and tell the world who we are.

I discovered just how powerful words are when I began writing about design from Africa; it enabled me to contribute to the development of the industry through my blog posts, interviews, opinion pieces, and books. I write primarily about the areas of design, creativity, sustainability, entrepreneurship, diversity, and lifestyle in relation to Africa.

Books

I believe books, print or digital, make an invaluable contribution to the development of the African design industry. We put information and different perspectives into context to help us make sense of things, and, more importantly, to create records of what has happened and is happening for future generations to look back on, to be inspired and to know what was.

Here you will find a selection of my books exploring African design.

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Articles

I have written about African design for and contributed both print and digital content to, a range of publications and organisations interested in diversifying their content and introducing African design to their readers.

Here you will find a selection of my curated articles and written work.

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Click on the images to view the articles

For my commissioned writing rates, please contact me here.

Publishing

Because writing and publishing my own books was never going to be enough, I now publish others’ work too. I started my imprint Shoko Press, an independent publisher of art books about modern African creativity and culture, to bring the work of hand-selected writers and creatives to print, so that they too can share their unique, diverse perspectives on design and creativity with the world.

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Atelier Fifty Five by Tapiwa Matsinde Publishing books Liz Riley Photography
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Atelier Fifty Five by Tapiwa Matsinde Books Quote Liz Riley Photography

Until the lions learn how to write every story will glorify the hunter.

African proverb

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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
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  • 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