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10 Leading Designers From Africa To Know

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


Jean Servais Somian (Furniture and Product Designer, Côte d'Ivoire)

Jean Servais Somian: Mama, chest of drawers © Philippe Louzon for Jean Servais Somian– Featured in Contemporary Design Africa © Thames & Hudson

Furniture, product designer and sculptor Jean Servais Somian draws on Africa's long-standing wood carving traditions. Born in Côte d'Ivoire, Somian trained as a carpenter and cabinetmaker in Abidjan, before taking up a furniture design internship in Lausanne, Switzerland, to develop his craft. He later moved to France, but it was not until a trip back to Côte d'Ivoire that he began to properly focus on creating furniture. He set up his workshops in Grand-Bassam in 1999– where he continues to work with a team of highly skilled cabinetmakers and artisans, creating heirlooms of the future. Somian's design aesthetic fuses African and Western influences, and he prefers to work with wood, mainly coconut wood and other local species such as iroko and mahogany. Decorative elements such as leather and stone complete his furniture designs.

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Photo by Alfredo Zuniga / AFP

Mozambique's Political Unrest: Where Things Stand

Fears continue to be on the rise as more attacks by militants are anticipated in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

On March 24th, militants stormed Palma—a gas-rich city in Mozambique—as part of an ongoing insurgency in the country dating back to 2017. Dozens of civilians have been killed although an official death toll has not been declared as of yet. Currently, at least 8000 more have been left displaced, fleeing to other parts of the country and attempting to seek asylum in Tanzania. This is believed to be the worst attacks carried out by the Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab, to date.
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Former Burkinabe President Charged with Thomas Sankara's Murder

Justice is on the horizon as Burkina Faso's former president, Blaise Compaore, is indicted for the 1987 assassination of Thomas Sankara.