Keen to hear editor Bielle Bellingham’s thinking behind the new #AfroSuperFuture issue? Well here it is…. the #AfroSuperFuture issue ed’s note.
You know that divine feeling when you completely overreach, trying your luck on something that, were you to actually pull it off, would be just too good to be true… And then it happens, and you squeal inwardly, grin so hard that your cheeks hurt, do a silent victory jig and then try to pretend like you’re casually composed. That describes this whole issue for me.
To start off with Peet Pienaar, the design virtuoso, agreed to share his vision for the future of design in Africa through a series of illustrated utopian spaces especially for this issue. (Cue my first victory dance).
Ninety-nine percent of designers work for less than 10% of the population, Peet laments.
His graphic manifesto sets the tone for this issue: the role of designers needs to change dramatically, so that it serves the majority of the population.
By harnessing the power of design, investing in it and making it part of the solution to our most pressing needs, the future is shaped and the cycle sustains itself. Thus, a society transforms itself.
Be sure to read the full essay written by Graham Wood on page 20.
Then, on top of that, our art director Marushka came screaming into the office one morning, having just discovered a YouTube clip of the ‘most amazing band ever’ – African Rhythm Production. I stalked them on Facebook, as one does, and within a week we had hustled a band of nine members from Pretoria to Cape Town, to star as the protagonists in our T.I.A feature story. I cannot begin to explain the extraordinary innate panache that these cool cats radiate; from their music, to their fashion sense and general attitude to life… safe to say I have a proper crush.
I am an Afro-optimist; always have been and hopefully always will be. I am in awe of our art, design and culture.
In a constant state of expansion, adaptation, elaboration and innovation, I am fascinated by our unique design aesthetic that is characterised by vibrancy, positivity, alchemy and invention.
In this issue, we have explored various aspects of this visual language, but have by no means managed to tell the whole story. We have tried to hint at the diversity, exceptionality, the global appeal and the power of design and designers in Africa to drive change, but we have just scratched the surface. I wonder, what does this concept of ‘Africaness’ and an African aesthetic mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
On our own terms, South African design can, and should compete with the very best in the world. We need to reimagine our future, stay ambitious and stay proud. Always.
The Africa Issue is a celebration of the future of design in Africa and its potential to drive change. We explore the concept of ‘Africaness’, what this means for our aesthetic. We also dream big with bedroom inspiration and take you on a tour of homes that truly embrace the spirit of the continent. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #AfricaIssue