Thursday, August 9, 2007

Indaba: A Conference

A while back I mentioned Design Indaba* and that I would one day explain who they are... for those uninitiated, Design Indaba is a collaberation of creative types in South Africa. Associated with it is a magazine, a conference, and lots of other interesting projects. And the motivation behind it? According to Ravi Naidoo, the founder of Design Indaba, after ten years of democratic rule, South Africa has become a hotbed of creative activity: "The story is this: when cultures and people that were forcibly separated under apartheid come together, it’s like a tectonic shift. Sparks are flying."

The conference is held every year, and everyone gets together to talk about design, see design, listen to talks about design... sounds like fun to me. I haven't yet been, and although I've heard mixed reviews, it is very much on my to-do list. Besides international speakers like Jasper Morrison, Tobias Frere-Jones, Neville Brody, Brian Eno and the like, local trail-blazers are also featured. Ones I wish I had seen are Zapiro (South African cartoonist) and Maira Koutsoudakis. Many of these speakers hold workshops and pass on their knowledge.

The Expo is a showcase of SA design that runs alongside the conference. Craft, fashion, jewellry, graphic design, film, new media, publishing, product design, decor and more are displayed for visitors (are you tired yet?)

Throughout the year, while everyone waits on tenderhooks for the next Indaba, a magazine is published. It is one of my favourite web reads... I get to catch up on design issues in South Africa, but also the rest of the world, whether it has to do with music, film, graphic design, art, whatever!

The folks at Design Indaba don't seem to sleep, because besides all this, they launch projects that explore South African design. I quite enjoyed a previous project, Brand the Beloved Country, where agencies were invited to submit a brand campaign for the country. No easy feat, but the results were quite inspiring! I'll share those with you tomorrow.

In the meantime, treat yourself to an interesting podcast. This is Ravi Naidoo, chatting about the Indaba. Sorry about the sound, Ravi talks fast and it's sometimes difficult to hear what he says.

*Indaba is Zulu, and means "issue" or "subject".

1 comment:

Heather Moore said...

That Indaba is extraordinary. And you're right about them not sleeping. My poor friend Lauren was both Expo organiser and the magazine editor for two years. She did a brilliant job of both, but I didn't see her much.