Quarter 04 / 2005
Recently, an architect friend of mine (someone whose own work has been documented by the BBC) criticised the way in which we tend to cheer a little too loudly when our local achievements have a global impact. He saw this as an "overcompensating SA attitude born from an inbred sense of inferiority... So much that has to be proved, and so much nation-analistic patriotism." Of course, I took immediate umbrage. I'm hardly a fan of back-patting myself, but I believe in giving credit where it's due - especially in a country with a developing economy that has so recently emerged from the mud of apartheid and onto the banks of the global stream. We're still evolving.
Thankfully, political transformation over the past decade has facilitated a design transformation, in that the past 10 years have seen enormous growth in SA design and product development. National confidence - a shaking off of the "pariah state" and colonial mentality where anything from the metropole or first world is the benchmark of excellence - combined with a can-do and can-do-even-better attitude are contributing factors. As are the increased exposure to the international market and the new trade/export possibilities that now exist. We've upped our game, and have reached the moment in SA's design history where we have begun to believe - and more importantly, to assert - that what we offer is unique and valuable. This is a paradigm shift. And a powerful one.
So let's shout about it! - Lauren Shantall