Its birthplace was one far bigger than design – one inspired by societal issues and intrinsically tied to the story of Africa.
Our continent’s natural resources are both a blessing and a curse, having led to insufficient investment in human capital. But Interactive Africa realised that if we looked to our own competencies and attempted to nurture the industries in which we operate, South Africa would be successful.
Design Indaba's primary aim therefore is to advance the cause of design as a communication fundamental, a business imperative and a powerful tool in industry and commerce, awakening and driving a demand for investment in intellectual capital. There is no easy “just-add-water” solution. It will take a generation to begin to see a turnaround.
Investing nearly two decades in this vision, Design Indaba has championed the creative revolution.
Focusing on bringing international thought leadership to South Africa since 1995, the Design Indaba Conference has grown to become one of the world’s leading design events and hosts more than 40 speakers and 2 500 delegates.
Encouraging local creativity to go global, for ten years Design Indaba Expo provided a commercial platform for South African designers to showcase local goods and services to the global market through influential international buyers. This has now evolved into national brands and institutions like MBOISA and Emerging Creatives and this online platform at designindaba.com, which showcases the best of South African design alongside the best global creative work.
By attracting the world's brightest talent, Design Indaba has become a respected institution on the creative landscape and one of the few multisectoral events that celebrates all the creative sectors – including graphic design, advertising, film, music, fashion design, industrial design, architecture, craft, visual art, new media, publishing, broadcasting and performing arts.
Besides the flagship Conference and Expo, Design Indaba has grown into a multitiered experience that now incorporates other events, media, education, training, activism, advocacy and business development.