67 minutes, and a library, for Madiba day

In honour of the legendary Nelson Mandela, Design Indaba was involved in a project that brought a library to a community.

Part of the Project

When Andrew Gasnolar of the Boundless Heart Foundation recently approached Design Indaba to get involved with their Mandela Day project plans, we immediately seized the opportunity to reach out to our network to collectively harness the power of creativity for the greater good.

The idea was to gift the Blikkiesdorp community in Delft, outside Cape Town, with a portable library. Looking to current design trends, it was decided that a shipping container would be the most cost-effective way to realise this goal. Shipping containers are easily transformed, easily shipped and it’s a great way to repurpose an exisiting object.

With a very generous financial contribution from South African Breweries we collaborated with architect Y Tsai in using his expertise in container refurbishment on this project. While Tsai worked on the exterior of what was to become the Blikkiesdorp library, Cecile & Boyd’s contributed their interior design savvy to turn the inside of the shipping container into a warm, friendly space that is conducive to learning.

Throughout the process it was wonderful to experience how people and organisations from all corners offered their time and servies to realising the project. A special mention also goes to AM Cargo for transporting and lifting the container from the shipping yard to Blikkiesdorp. The interior also benefitted from little chairs and tables, generously contributed by Xanita.

When 18 July, officially Mandela Day, came around, it was a pleasure to see the container library brought to its new home in Blikkiesdorp. The library was enthusiastically received by the community, who will collectively be responsible for the library, its functioning and upkeep.

While a small gesture, the Blikkiesdorp project illustrates how a better world is possible through creativity and the kinds of positive change that can happen when the collaborative power of creativity is harnessed.

See more pictures of the event in our Blikkiesdorp Facebook album. 

Watch the Talk with Y Tsai