Quarter 01 / 2003

Magazine Cover

And so the dust settles on the 6th International Design Indaba, which played out to a rousing finish by Senor Javier Mariscal and Sir Terence Conran. The event has now hosted over 100 leading designers from around the world since inception - and has bolder plans for next year, with a particular motivation to draw more international delegates to Cape Town. This cause will be helped by our new deal with the leading magazine distributor in the world - and so this magazine will be seen more widely in Europe and America, in particular.

The Design Indaba is a wholesome undertaking that seeks to grow the creative industries in South Africa. Its scope, since the inaugural event in 1995, is beyond just graphic design, and increasingly includes architecture, fashion, product design, photography, new media, film and music.

Suffice to say that it is particularly meaningful hosting this event in South Africa. This country, we believe, presents the best Beta site in the world - with our blend of 1st world infrastructure, and a 3rd world social milieu. We are, indeed, a world in one country. And we are ambitious and want to make up for lost time, strangled dreams and missed opportunities, through the past three decades in particular. And in the creative industries, there are opportunities aplenty. You see, in many respects, South Africa is a wonderful greenfields operation. And this has its advantages. There is a dividend for being a johnny-come-lately. We can go to school on the experiences of the developed world, and fashion a system, that learns from their mistakes, as well as their successes. We can lay the building blocks for the growth of the creative industries, so that we can see South African products on the High Streets of the major capitals of the world.

Importantly, we have a great value proposition: world-class production values, at Rand based prices. This is one of the major reasons why other sectors of our economy have had much success recently. For example, all right-hand drive 3 Series BMWs (a technically demanding product, we might add) are manufactured in South Africa for the world, and what is more inspiring is that the revolution in the motoring industries only began 5 years ago - the impact can be swift, if we all pull together and co-ordinate our efforts!

Or look at what Wines of South Africa has done , as another example - which is why our wine exports have grown by 20% year on year! We have established credentials and expertise in many industry sectors such as mining, retail (have you seen Woolworths in UAE and Shoprite in many countries in Africa, and soon in India?) and in the brewing of beer, (with SAB Miller the 2nd biggest in the world), where we can truly claim to be world class.

We draw strength from these exploits of our peers in commerce. This buoyancy and optimism must become pervasive through South Africa and the rest of the continent, and infuse the creative industries with new energy. You see, as regards the gamut in the creative industries, we have more work to do. We have had some early successes in advertising, with locally produced ads winning international acclaim. But we need to do more in the area of product design, fashion design, film, architecture, etc. We need to grow up from being a services sector for the local industry, to one which is developing a new international client base. Can Cape Town and Johannesburg be to creative services what Bangalore and Hyderabad are to IT? A global hub for outsourced services is an intermediate step to building a manufacturing base towards developing more of our own products.

Design Indaba wants to help to catalyse this. It clearly beats to a new rhythm - in time with the pulsing energy of a renewed South Africa. We want more of this new pioneering, frontiersman spirit in the creative industry. And pro-activity, risk-taking and innovation... So more people in the creative industry can escape from the tyranny of the brief!

So we proffer this magazine, a retrospective of the 6th International Design Indaba - to inspire you on this journey. - Michael Stallenberg and Ravi Naidoo