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.

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Photo by Abena Boamah.

Photos: Here's What Happened at Daily Paper & Free the Youth's Design Talk for Accra's Young Creatives

Founders of the popular brands discussed all things African streetwear in a conversation facilitated by OkayAfrica and moderator Amarachi Nwosu.

Last week, Amsterdam-based, African-owned streetwear brand Daily Paper and Ghanaian streetwear label Free the Youth held a talk for young creatives at the Mhoseenu design studio in Accra, Ghana.

Moderated by Melanin Unscripted creator Amarachi Nwosu and presented in partnership with OkayAfrica, the design-based conversation explored everything from sustainable practices in manufacturing, to the overall evolution of streetwear globally. The founders of Free the Youth, which was been called Ghana's number one streetwear brand, expanded on how they've been able to build their audience, and shared details about their community-based initiatives.

They event, which took place at the Daily Paper Pop-up Store in Accra last Friday, drew a fashionable and creative-minded crowd ready to partake in a design discussion between West Africa and Europe.

Check out some of the action that took place at the Daily Paper x FYT event below, with photos by Abena Boamah.

Find more upcoming OkayAfrica events here.

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Still via YouTube

#JusticeForGiovani, Cape Verde Demands Answers in the 'Barbaric' Death of 21-Year-Old Student In Portugal

Luis Giovani dos Santos Rodrigues, a Cape Verdean student living in Portugal, died on New Year's Eve after succumbing to injuries from an attack ten days earlier, which many believe was racially motivated.

Cape Verdeans are demanding answers in the "barbaric killing" of 21-year-old student and musician Luis Giovani dos Santos Rodrigues in Portugal last month.

According to various Portuguese reports, Rodrigues was allegedly attacked by a group of men while leaving a party at a local bar on December 21. According to the Portuguese newspaper Contacto, witnesses say a group of about 15 men approached Rodrigues and two of his friends armed with belts, sticks and other weapons. The report goes on to say that Rodrigues was beaten and left unconscious with bruises to his head. He spent 10 days in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries on December 31.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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