Design Futures Africa is a collaborative project between Twyg, storytellers and the British council using the power of narrative to further the reach and understanding of African designers.
Storytellers were tasked with creating narratives about the journeys of six designers whose work embodies circular design and sustainability. These designers attended the Circular Design Lab 2019 which followed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s circular design framework and was hosted by the British Council in the UK. They are Maxwell Mutanda (Zimbabwe), Vanessa Nsona (Malawi), Wacy Zacarias (Mozambique), Betty Chilonde (Zambia), Matthew Edwards (South Africa) and Mahendra Gooroochurn (Mauritius).
Design Futures Africa is based on the informed opinion that a just transition from our current linear economy (take-make-waste) to a circular economy is our current and best solution. And, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation design is key to the first principle of the circular economy, which is to “design out waste and pollution.”
Why is this project important? The world is in an interregnum. Globally, we’re between social and economic systems: moving from unsustainable systems to systems of regeneration and sustainability. Design and storytelling play important roles in this process. While design devises courses of action for change, storytelling furthers the reach and understanding of this design; and hastens the adoption of sustainable practices.
Six southern-African storytellers gathered in Cape Town last year for the first stage of the Design Futures Africa storytelling project. After putting out a call for entries, we spent a few weeks screening over 170 portfolios from across various creative disciplines. Competition was tough, talent was amazing, but we had to make a decision.
We are delighted to announce the six storytellers who have been selected for the Design Futures Africa project:
South Africa – Stefanie Jason
Stefanie is an award-winning journalist whose writing is focused on visual art, race and gender, and has written for titles such as Mail & Guardian, Marie Claire and City Press. Currently studying toward her PhD in Art History at Rutgers University, Stefanie holds a Master of Arts in Contemporary Curatorial Practice from Wits University. Stefanie has written a feature about Johanneburg-based industrial designer, Matthew Edwards.
Mauritius – Mehryne Annooar
Mehryne’s passion for environmental conservation is expressed in her written and video work which often addresses and educates the public on issues of climate change and its effect on our world. The 22 year-old wants to explore ways technology and media can help raise awareness about environmental issues. Mehryne holds a BSc Journalism with a minor in Digital Media at the University of Mauritius. In collaboration with engineer and lecturer Dr Mahendra Gooroochurn, Mehryne has explored circular design in Mauritius.
Zimbabwe – Bill Masuku
Bill is a Nommo Award nominated comic book artist and writer born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1993. He is the creator of comic books Razor-Man, Welcome to Dead World, and Captain South Africa as well as the author of the Misfortunism book series. His artwork has appeared in galleries around southern Africa and he has been a guest speaker at events such as MCM London Comic Con, FanCon Cape Town, Comic Con Africa, and Harare Literature Festival. Bill has created a story based on the work of multi-disciplinary researcher designer and visual artist, Maxwell Mutanda.
Malawi – Temwa Msiska
Temwa is the founder of the tourism startup, Orion Malawi. In addition to being a lawyer by profession, she has a wealth of experience in marketing, PR and communications. Temwa currently uses her digital platform to convey the stories, vibrancy and beauty of her country not only to attract people to Malawi but to connect industry leaders. Temwa holds a LLB Law from the University of Wolverhampton as well as an MBA from BPP University College in London. She has told the story of Vanessa Nsona who is a social entrepreneur and product designer.
Mozambique – David Aguacheiro
Mozambican-based David is a filmmaker, visual artist, photographer and graphic designer with extensive experience both locally and abroad. David’s passion for sustainability and environmental issues is evident in his award-winning body of work. He recently participated in a two-year residency with the Social Life of Waste international art residency program. David holds a BA Communication Design from the Superior Institute for Arts and Culture. He is currently completing his MA Design and Multimédia at Pedagogic University in Maputo. David has told the story of Wacy Zacarias, who is a traditional healer and textile designer.
Zambia – Sekayi Mwila Fundafunda
Sekayi is an art director, blogger, and founder of the fashion platform, MaFashio. The award-winning blog documents life and style on the streets of Lusaka, Zambia. Sekayi has over eight years’ experience in fashion-related content creation with a recent focus on sustainable fashion design and educating the youth on sustainability. She is a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow and Innovation Lead at Zambia’s leading technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship hub, BongoHive. Sekayi holds a BSc in Economics and Finance from the University of Lusaka as well as a certificate in Fashion and Sustainability from London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Ms. Fundafunda is the Country Coordinator of Fashion Revolution Zambia. Sekayi has interpreted the work of Zambian fashion designer, Betty Chilonde.
About British Council
British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Design Futures falls under its Southern African Arts programme, which has developed cultural connections between young people aged 18-35 in the UK and Southern Africa with a range of arts projects and use of digital platforms to build creative networks through art forms including, fashion, music, film, design and more.
As a non-profit media and communications company, Twyg encourages an eco-conscious and progressive lifestyle. It inspires with stories about fashion, people, food and places that don’t harm the planet nor people. Twyg is a fast-developing brand, founded and edited by Jackie May, who has over 20 years of experience working in media. It focuses on sustainability issues and is driven by young energetic local writers across southern Africa.
Jackie May, Project Director
Rutendo Nyamuda, Project Manager
All images supplied by the storytellers.