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iLobola Ceramics Explore an Ancient Southern African Custom

In her debut solo exhibition, entitled iLobola, ceramic artist Zizipho Poswa explores the value and relevance of Lobola an ancient African tradition of bride price. In many Southern African cultures, this price was paid in the form of cows, an animal that is synonymous with wealth. Seen as a way of uniting two families Lobola is an ongoing tradition still practised throughout the region with money replacing the cow. 

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Sifiso Shange’s Afri Modern Furniture Tells Stories Through Design

Afri Modern is an award-winning multi-disciplinary design studio that tells stories through design. The studio, based in Johannesburg, South Africa was founded in 2018 by Sifiso Shange. An interior designer and storyteller Sifiso refers to himself as a modern Zulu man, one who taps into his culture to create statement, modernist designs that tell the African Nguni stories of his heritage.

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Baba Tjeko Colourful Geometric Illustrations Preserving Basotho Litema Art Traditions

Baba Tjeko is a South African multi-disciplinary visual artist whose colour-filled graphic illustrations are helping to keep the disappearing art of Litema alive. Baba Tjeko’s artwork features bold geometric patterns depicting Basotho cultural symbols and soulful images of men and women whose faces bear the weight of triumph over adversity as they navigate the challenges of their day to day lives.

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Hlabisa Bench Blending Craft, Design and Technology

Furniture and product designer Thabisa Mjo has teamed up with Houtlander and master weaver Beauty Ngxongo to create the Hlabisa Bench. A striking object showcasing the best of South African design, craftsmanship, and technique that has become an instant classic. The collaboration came about when the curator of Revelations, a biennale Fine Craft and Creation Fair in Paris, invited Thabisa to participate in the 2019 event.

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A Look Inside Fashion Designer, Marianne Fassler’s Eclectic Art-Filled Home

Marianne Fassler is a doyenne of the South African fashion industry. Her brand Leopard Frock is a recognised game-changer, her inimitable style and anti-fashion stance always pushing the boundaries between fashion and art resulting in collections that rewrite the rules with their profusion of animal print, colour, patterns and textures. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that her home reflects all that inspires her. 

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Skinny laMinx Fabrics Take You To The SunnySide

South African textile brand Skinny laMinx turns up the heat with their latest collection. The SunnySide is a feelgood collection that encourages us to bring a little sunshine and positive energy into our everyday lives. The collection of dining and kitchen textiles features bold patterns and colour prints in the Skinny laMinx signature style, which blends midcentury style, pattern and colour, with African chic.

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7 Designers and Artists Inspired by Scarification

Contemporary African designers and artists inspired by scarification and referencing the ancient African tradition in their work. Scarification is the process of superficially cutting, scratching, etching or burning permanent designs into the skin. This form of body decoration is a practice common to West Africa where for centuries the resultant markings expressed a form of unspoken communication such as rank, tribe, beauty, and strength. Patterns in the form of scars would range from simple markings to those more elaborate and intricate adorning the face, chest, torso arms and legs. Scarification is not for the faint-hearted, undergoing the practice was said […]

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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As I highlighted in a previous editorial on Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. The Adinkra symbols designs carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic shapes to create anything from jewellery to patterned textiles. I introduce 5 contemporary African brands referencing the Adinkra symbols in their designs, and in doing so giving them relevance in a modern day and age.

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Seven Inspiring Modern African Design Collaborations

Collaboration is a powerful thing, the meeting of ideas to create new ones and at times offering up unexpected viewpoints. Collaboration offers those involved a chance to learn, pick up new skills and show off each other’s skills at their best. And in this spirit I have rounded up seven inspiring modern African design collaborations that have come together over the years:

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String Pendant Lamps Inspired by Traditional African Jewellery

Jewellery is one of my great loves, and was the main reason I started this blog. I wanted to use the space as a place to store my finds. So I couldn’t help but be instinctively drawn to a collection of string pendant lamps by South African product designer Candice Lawrence. Inspired by the beaded layers of traditional African jewellery, the African Woven Necklace Lamp Shade features three interconnected circular hoops each punctuated with colourful bands of hand wrapped thread.

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