Cape Town Becomes First African City To Be Named UNESCO City of Design

Image: andBeyond.com

You may have heard the news already, but if you haven’t,  our beautiful Mother city joins the list of 180 cities which have been recognized for their contributions to the development of art and design – some good news amidst the terrifying water crisis.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network started in 2004 with the aim to connect cities which invest in promoting art and design as well as creating sustainable development initiatives to drive the cultural and design landscape in their respective countries. We can all appreciate the beautiful landscape that Cape Town has been built around, but the true magic is in the way that this city supports and upholds its creatives. From galleries to local craft markets, festivals and tourism ventures, the city is a much-loved destination for immersive cultural experiences beyond its “artistic hipster” aesthetic reputation.

Though steeped in history that still sees the remnants of Apartheid and colonization, the indigenous people of Cape Town have somehow managed to uphold and maintain major parts of their rich cultures- from the colourful houses in Bo-Kaap to the museums which serve as real-life archives of a complex yet vibrant history – the design narrative is one that tells a story of history and cultural pride.

Co-founder of the Open Design Festival Cape Town, Suné Stassen, explained:

Cape Town is not only an exciting and unique melting pot of diverse cultural experiences, but also a place where design and innovation in its broadest sense, across various sectors, in education and in communities, is used as a vehicle to bring about change and transformation.

A true testament to the success of a city that supports its inhabitants is in how those in power create platforms that not only support careers which can be easily defined but those that find a home in the multi-faceted creative sphere.

Organisers of the Design Indaba conference, one of the city’s signature creative events, said:

As an organisation that believes in the power of creativity to unlock the economic potential of our city,we could not think of a better opportunity for the City of Cape Town than to be a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

For more information on the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, visit en.unesco.org.

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