I was as anxious as I was excited for my first trip to South Africa. Nigerians seem to have quite an exciting reputation in the rear of Africa.
Apart from the mountains, I had no idea what to expect. My South African neighbor had told me it wasn’t Africa – that it was Europe. A little Europe in Africa… (maybe more on that in the future).
Cape Town is stunning. From every single angle stunning. It’s well designed, it’s clean, and there is so much to do. February had already seen the Cape Town Art Fair; this week the Design Indaba and in a couple of weeks it would be the Cape Town Jazz Fair.
The Design Indaba held at the Artscape in the centre of town, a fairly industrial building now decorated with wildly imaginative installations in the outside foyer.
Whilst I hadn’t realized the conference was to consist mainly of talks, I was blown away by the exciting and wide reaching content. My brain was reactivated.
My personal highlights included Yinka Ilori’s Naij party where he dropped some Afro beats and invited the delegates to join him on the stage. Black Coffee, the internationally renowned local DJ made an announcement that he was fund raising for a music academy. He informed us that Virgil Abloh had already agreed to donate the architectural design for the building.
There was also a showcase of the designers who have been invited by IKEA to develop African designs for the brand. However, the IKEA spokesman said they had no plans to do anything on the continent itself – boo.
Finally, but not the least, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I had had a brief encounter with Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba and he suggested I waited until the very end. That there was a surprise special guest coming.
The Archbishop’s arrival onto the stage was met with a resounding standing ovation.
What a fantastic end to the three days – a beautiful prayer.