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In this episode I chat with Farai Madzima. Farai is a UX Lead at Shopify in Ottawa, Canada. Born in Zimbabwe, Farai has spent the last 14 years helping to design and build products and teams in the UK, South Africa and Canada. He is the organiser of Pixel Up!, a series of UX and design conferences and meetups in South Africa created to connect designers and developers in Africa with their peers around the world. 

Getting fired from one of his first jobs was a turning point for Farai, wanting to understand what exactly had gone wrong his experience led him to explore the effects of different cultures when working in diverse teams and how different people respond and see things differently. He highlights how in many African cultures the hierarchy of seniority is prevalent and this can affect how teams interact and work together.  And so seeing things from different perspectives is important to the success of a business.

Farai is invested in being a part of developing the tech industry in Africa. He founded his annual conference Pixel Up! to bridge the gap between design teams in Africa and those working else where in the world to meet on the continent to share their knowledge and tools and help create local solutions for local challenges. And to also facilitate the export of leads out of Africa to contribute to the global tech dialogue.

We talk about:

  • What is UX design and why it matters to business
  • Why product and service creators need to see the product and user experience from the customer’s perspective
  • The increasing effect that technologies such as voice activated platforms will have on  businesses and the user experience and how to prepare for the change
  • His talk ‘Can Being African Make You A Bad Designer?’ and how it explores the understanding of culture and how that shows up in us at work
  • The lessons learnt from being fired from one of his first jobs and how the experience helped him to grow into leadership
  • Managing teams where age differences and cultural expectations could be an issue 
  • His thoughts on the future of Africa’s tech industries

“We [Africans] also have our own ideas that should be heard elsewhere in the world.” – Farai Madzima

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

Andela  –

Udemy online courses –

Figma –

forloop –

Udacity courses –

Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) –

Can Being African Make You A Bad Designer? –—-cultural-bias-in-design-madzima-farai/

Where you can go to find out more about Farai




​​Twitter: @farai_uxguy

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes (iOS) and Stitcher (Android)

And before you go I have a favour to ask, if you could you take a few minutes to do the three R’s: that is rate it, review it, and recommend it to anyone you feel would benefit. It will really make a difference and I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.

Tapiwa Matsinde

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