Design
Photo courtesy of IKEA.

IKEA's ÖVERALLT Collection, Featuring Designs by Notable African Creatives, Is Finally Here

"This is how design makes the world smaller and brings people from different cultures closer together," Senegal's Bibi Seck says.

Back in 2017, we got wind that a new IKEA collection was in development, spearheaded by renowned African designers across disciplines.

After a meet-up at Design Indaba, Marcus Engman, IKEA's head of design, and Ravi Naidoo, Design Indaba's founder, discussed a plan to highlight work coming from African architects, illustrators and designers—ultimately releasing the ÖVERALLT Collection 2 years later.

The limited-edition collection features sleek home goods and furniture items from the minds of eight designers hailing from five African countries—Issa Diabaté, Selly Raby Kane, Studio Propolis (Naeem Biviji and Bethan Rayner), Bibi Seck, Reform Studio (Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honorees), Renee Rossouw, Sindiso Khumalo and Laduma Ngxokolo. According to IKEA, it seeks to "build bridges and note walls—ultimately creating room for better habits together."

"This is how design makes the world smaller and brings people from different cultures closer together," Seck says.

Virgil Abloh also designed for the fifth short-term collection—IKEA Art Event. The mind behind Off-White designed what he considers to be an ironic take on the Persian rug. Using shades of gray and his signature labeling with quotations, Abloh gives commentary on the parents who protect their furniture at all costs (anyone else had plastic coverings on their couches?).

Check out the collection along with Abloh's rug below, with all images courtesy of IKEA.


"I wanted an ironic take on the traditional attitude to furnishing where the living room is just a showroom, not somewhere you sit," Virgil Abloh says of his IKEA Art Event rug in a statement. "The parental 'don't ruin the furniture' kind of thing I think has really impacted how younger people furniture today."

"The patterns are inspired by where I come from, and by the journeys I've made," Ngxokolo of South Africa's MAXHOSA BY LADUMA says. "I hope it will bring comfort and pride to people."

"I imagine people sitting in this rocking chair, rocking and reflecting," Bibi Seck, the Senegalese designer and co-founder of Birsel+Seck, says. "I imagine my father who is in his eighties sitting in it, smoking his cigar; my sister-in-law with her newborn baby; my niece and nephews playing on it."

"We believe that design can solve stubborn problems," Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem of Reform Studio say. "Reform is an umbrella of many 'Re's'– a recreation of an existing idea, a redevelopment of objects, a reusing of materials, a reviving of cultures and reforming of our world."

"I wanted to design a proud South African textile," Renne Rossouw, who designed the textiles with Sindiso Khumalo. "So I proposed an artwork with my favorite animal, the African Elephant. It's such a beautiful and intelligent animal that really knows how to care for their young ones."

"These baskets are mainly inspired by the ritual of hair braiding," Senegalese fashion designer and artist Selly Raby Kane says. "It's this shared moment when your head either ends up on a family member's lap for hours and hours, or you lean back in a chair in a cool salon, listening to the latest Dakar and foreign pop."

"We are interested in ideas that are not only good for Africa but may be relevant anywhere," Nairobi-based Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji of Studio Propolis say.

The husband and wife duo was inspired by the Kenyan evening custom where friends gather together with their own chairs to talk about their day and about life when designing the ÖVERALLT table and accompanying benches.

"Depending on where the designs are assembled, they can take on different personalities," Diabaté says.

"I wanted to design a pleasant and functional object without using costly materials or sophisticated technology," the Ivorian designer and architect adds. "This chair is made out of a sheet of plywood and a jigsaw, technically. No necessity for nails, glue or screws or any other complex fabrication process."

"Throughout the design process it's been interesting seeing how many more similarities we have than differences, even when our approaches are opposites," Sindiso Khumalo says.

See the full ÖVERALLT Collection here.

Music

Listen to Samthing Soweto’s Album ‘Isiphithiphithi’

Samthing Soweto's highly anticipated album is finally here.

One of the most anticipated albums of the year, Isiphithiphithi by Samthing Soweto is finally here.

The South African artist's project consists of 12 songs and features Makhafula Vilakazi, Shasha, Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa and Mlindo The Vocalist.

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Gallo Images/Getty Images

South African Telenovela 'The River' has Been Nominated for an International Emmy

This is the popular telenovela's first International Emmy nomination.

One of South Africa's beloved telenovelas, The River, has received its first ever International Emmy nomination in the category of "Best Telenovela", according to IOL. The River will go up against other telenovelas from Columbia, Argentina as well as Portugal. The 47th installment of the International Emmy Awards will take place on November 25th of this year and will be held at the Hilton in New York.

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Culture
Photo (c) John Liebenberg

'Stolen Moments' Uncovers the Namibian Music That Apartheid Tried to Erase

The photo exhibition, showing at the Brunei Gallery in London, highlights artists from Namibia's underground scene between 1950-1980, a time of immense musical suppression prior to its independence.

Before its independence in 1990, a whole generation of Namibians were made to believe that their county had no real musical legacy. Popular productions by Namibian artists from previous eras were systematically concealed from the masses for nearly 30 years, under the apartheid regime—which extended to the country from South Africa following German colonization—depriving many Namibians of the opportunity to connect with their own musical heritage.

"Stolen Moments: Namibian Music Untold," a new exhibit currently showing at London's Brunei Museum at SOAS University of London, seeks to revive the musical Namibian musical traditions that the apartheid regime attempted to erase.

"Imagine you had never known about the musical riches of your country," said the exhibit's curator Aino Moongo in a statement of purpose on SOAS' site. "Your ears had been used to nothing but the dull sounds of country's former occupants and the blaring church and propaganda songs that were sold to you as your country's musical legacy. Until all at once, a magnitude of unknown sounds, melodies and songs appear. This sound, that roots your culture to the musical influences of jazz, blues and pop from around the world, is unique, yet familiar. It revives memories of bygone days, recites the history of your homeland and enables you for the first time to experience the emotions, joys and pains of your ancestors."

Photo (c) Dieter Hinrichs

The 'Stolen Moments" project began in 2010 in an effort to champion Namibia's unsung musical innovators. For the collection, Moongo and Assistant Curator, Siegrun Salmanian—along with a group of international scholars, artists, photographers and filmmakers—curated a large-scale photo exhibit that also features a 120-minute video projection, focusing on the dance styles of the era, along with listening stations, a sound installation that features "100-hours of interviews with musicians and contemporary witnesses," and displays of record covers and memorabilia from the period between 1950-1980.

The musicians highlighted, produced work that spanned a number of genres—a marker of the country's vast and eclectic underground scene. Artists like the saxophonist Leyden Naftali who led a band inspired by the sounds of ragtime, and the psychedelic rock and funk of the Ugly Creatures are explored through the exhibition, which also centers bands and artists such as The Dead Wood, The Rocking Kwela Boys, Children of Pluto and more.

"There are many reasons why you've never heard this music before," Moongo continues. "It was censored, suppressed, prohibited and made almost impossible to listen to. Its creators are either long gone or have given up on music making, by reasons of adversity, death and despair. And yet this beautiful music exists with a liveliness, as if it had never stopped playing. It is still in the minds of the few who can remember, with the ones who played it, and on those rare recordings that have survived in archives and record collections scattered around the globe. Allow me to share these stolen moments with you."

Photo (c) Dieter Hinrichs


Photo (c) John Liebenberg

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"Stolen Moments" is now showing at the Brunei Gallery in London and runs through Sept 21.

popular

Foul Language and Depictions of Rape Spur a Book Recall Campaign in Kenya

Kenya's Top Book seller pulls a South African book for youth due to foul language.

A main book supplier in Kenya, Text Book Centre, has announced that they would not stock a book due to its "vulgar and foul language." The book, Blood Ties, was written by South African author Zimkhitha Mlanzeli. The banning comes just after a video went viral in Kenya of a school child having a verbal outburst peppered with strong language. As reported by BBC, the removal was sparked by parents showing outrage after excerpts from the book were shared on twitter. These excerpts contained use of the f-word as well as a description of a rape scene.

As per their statement, the Text Book Centre claims they believe in "upholding high moral standards and raising generations of responsible citizens who are not only educated but ethical." The Kenyan publisher, StoryMoja, has defended the book in a statement of their own. They argue that the book is part of a new series showcasing books that deal with "contemporary societal issues" and that this particular book is a fictional story that grapples with the negative repercussions of peer pressure. "In actual fact, the book guides readers on the steps to take should they find themselves in a similar situation and underscores the sensitivity with which victims of sexual abuse should be treated." The statement also highlights the fact that the publishers had listed Blood Ties for readers in high school or above.


The discrepancy is that some schools have recommended the book as a reader – meaning for younger children aged 12 or 13 – though it has not been approved by the Kenyan Institute of Curricular Development (KICD), the entity in charge of managing texts used in schools. In a tweet, the KICD claimed that the book was not approved and that some teachers may be recommending texts without ensuring they were endorsed by the KICD. The dispute is sparking debate as to what should be taught in Kenyan schools.

As of late this morning, StoryMoja is in the process of recalling all copies of the book from stores and schools across Kenya. In a tweet they claim that it is because they have determined the language used in the book is the issue and not the subject matter.

Censorship is always a contested topic, just last month we reported on Nigerian authorities censoring a music video for "threatening security." Also, Kenya's censorship tactics have been in the global eye since a refusal to screen the film Rafiki for its homosexual heroines despite being lauded at international film festivals.

Here are some reactions from Kenyans on Twitter:





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