10 Leading Designers From Africa To Know

'Contemporary Design Africa' author Tapiwa Matsinde highlights 10 leading contemporary decor designers from Africa.

Cheick Diallo (Furniture and Product Design, Mali)

Cheick Diallo: Sansa Chairs © courtesy of Alioune Ba for Diallo Design– Featured in Contemporary Design Africa © Thames & Hudson

A designer, maker, producer, consultant and educator, furniture and product designer, Cheick Diallo is a leading figure in the industry. Hailing from Mali, Diallo trained as an architect in France, and then established his studio, Diallo Design, in 1997 in Bamako. Labelled "an African design hero" by Elle Decoration South Africa, Diallo is known for his innovative approach towards developing iconic designs that constantly push the boundaries of what defines design from Africa. His award-winning aesthetic blends artisanal methods with influences from his architectural background, and he has also chosen to work with discarded materials such as scrap metal, old fishing nets and plastic. In addition to his design practice, Diallo has also dedicated himself to developing Africa's design industry through collaborations and other projects designed to help emerging designers and organisations improve their own creative practices.

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Interview: In The Beginning Was Manana

Manana on his debut album 'In The Beginning Was The End', a relatable love story narrated backwards.

Ndumiso Manana had just purchased a microphone to complete his home studio setup when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a hard lockdown in 2020.

Unable to tour with his Seba Kaapstad family due to travel restrictions implemented as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, he did what many musicians in his circles, and around the world, were doing: he diverted his attention to something else.

In his case, the diversion led to one of 2020's most beguiling releases, In The Beginning Was The End, an album so perfect, so polished yet raw; so whole yet sparse; so sophisticated yet, strangely, relatable.

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