Design Indaba has a special interest in the development of young designers in South Africa.
Throughout the year, the organiser of Design Indaba, Interactive Africa, hosts workshops across the country at selected tertiary institutions in order to help develop young designers in South Africa. During highly interactive five-day themebased workshops, participating lecturers and students have the opportunity to work and interact with leading international and local designers on a specific brief. Some of the designers that have taken part in this initiative include Malcolm Garrett, Oscar Peña, Ilse Crawford, Paula Sher, Vince Frost, Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker.
The end product is always a tangible piece of work that is produced, such as a brochure, book bag or posters. The workshops are funded by Design Indaba and its partners, at minimum cost to the institution and students.
While the flagship Design Indaba event takes place annually in Cape Town at the end of February, the country is always at the heart of the event. Design Indaba has purposefully chosen not to be parochial or provincial in approach. Holding these workshops countrywide is not only a centrepiece for taking Design Indaba to people across the country, but also an important Seminar Series for design professionals.
The Design Indaba team is buoyed by the positive response of numerous design educators nationwide. For Design Indaba it is heartening that the exploits of facilitators at the previous 11 workshops have been well met, pointing towards a clear need for more of these events. Experience has shown that it may be worth co-ordinating workshops tailored for design lecturers in the future – "Train the trainer" could be the new refrain!
These workshops help to provide South African design students with a fuller worldview, and assist the industry in benchmarking itself against best current, global design practices.
South Africans designers need to up the tempo in order to secure the local design industry as one of the leaders in the South African firmament. The prime driver necessarily lies in exports. As a creative industry, our products and services are truly successful when coveted by customers outside this country!
The Design Indaba workshops are funded by the private sector, held at no cost to the institution or the students. Our inaugural seminar took place in Durban in late August 2001. Run by Vince Frost, students created a magazine celebrating Durban as an African city, at this one-day workshop. To date Design Indaba has hosted eminent designers like Irma Boom (Professor of Design at Yale), Lucille Tenazas (President of American Institute of Graphic Arts), Oscar Pena (Creative Director at Philips), Paula Scher (of Pentagram, NY). In 2008 Design Indaba, assisted by Vega Brand Communications School, hosted two graphic designers Jan Wilker and Hjalti Karllsson from New York to run workshops at the Vega Imagination Labs in townships of Johannesburg and Durban and at the university campus in Cape Town.