Africa is rejecting the descriptions that have historically defined it and is instead becoming the new benchmark for growth and innovation.
Contextual solutions that have sprouted from the fertile creative soils of Africa are in demand worldwide, redefining the traditional exchange between the so-called first and third worlds.
The Africa is Now exhibition at Design Indaba Expo 2014 was a snapshot of creative work being produced across the continent right now: an up-to-the-minute survey of emerging, established and unexpected talent from across Africa. It is not a retrospective of a typecast past nor a utopian vision of an imagined future. It reflects the Africa that is.
Design Indaba met up with five of the designers whose work was represented on the stand to talk African creativity, challenges and opportunities on the continent.
"African creativity can definitely change the way we see things and reinterpret our purpose as designers, says Ivorian architect, Issa Diabaté. "What is most important for us is to show that we can do something that on only applies to Africa but to the rest of the world. To me African creativity is the creativity of the next century."
African creativity can create serious social change, says Ghanaian fashion designer, Abrima Erwiah.
"Africans are problem solvers at heart. We look at a problem, see what is available and that is how we solve it," says Oliver Brain, designer of the Street Sleeper.
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Design Indaba is a multi-tiered platform committed to a better world through creativity. Established in 1995 with its flagship conference, it has evolved into a multidisciplinary experience that now consists of the globally acclaimed annual Design Indaba Conference, Simulcast, Expo and FilmFest, as well as a host of parties, performances, training workshops, design projects, community initiatives and publications.