Where are the African Designers? [Part 2]

Jon Gosier —  November 2, 2008 — 6 Comments

A few months a go I wrote a post that questioned where the art movement of Africa existed and who was leading it. I covered the landscape of mainly contemporary African designers like typographer Saki Mafundikwa, photographer Simon Njami and fashion designer/writer G. Kofi Annan. I decided to follow up on this because I overlooked quite a few people…

David Kobia (programmer, designer)
Kenya native David Kobia is a very unassuming web developer and programmer who, despite having created fantastic logos for Barcamp Africa and Kelele, swears he isn’t a designer. David is probably best known for his work as a member of the Ushahidi team.

Yinka Shonibare (installation artist)
Yinka is an installation and gallery artists who’s magnificent collections explore the intricacies of Europe’s colonial history in Africa and how the two continents have affected each other. His work questions cultural identity by juxtaposing African patterned cloth with the poses, idle hours and depravity of Victorian socialites.

Uduak Oduok (fashion designer)
I got in trouble last time for not including West Africa’s Ladybrille on the list. Uduak is committed to doing her part in helping Africa advance towards economic freedom by helping to develop Africa’s fashion industry. When she isn’t designing her own work, and promoting the work of others, Uduak is an attorney.

Adii (programmer, designer)
I’m not sure how one man manages to program so much without going insane but Adii would be the proper person to answer that question. He’s the founder of two design houses WooThemes and {radiiate} and is also a former Accountant.

Anton Kannemeyer (illustrator)
Anton is a South African native who covers the ‘unspoken’ racial prejudices and fears through his art. His work is highly controversial and sometimes hard to look at but that’s the point….so is confronting the racial undertones that define our culture.

Jo Noero (architect)
When it comes to architecture, the west has a curious tendency to ignore African contributions for African buildings designed by Europeans. That’s okay, people like Jo Noero prefer to let their work speak for them. Jo, quite remarkably, recently won the prestigious Lubetkin Prize; the first time ever for someone not from an EU country.

Pierre Atepa Goudiaby (architect)
Pierre is originally from the Senegalese village Baila but after studying architecture at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York he went on to start his own firm the Atepa Group. His design for the West Africa Central Bank in Dakar is modeled on the baobab tree a local relic that elders from his village would gather around and commune.

Guido Sohne (programmer)
Guido was from Accra, Ghana. He’s given a lot of credit by people like Ethan Zuckerman and others for his work at trying to galvanize an open source software movement in sub-Saharan Africa. He was a founder of the Free and Open Source Software Foundation and briefly worked for Microsoft out of their Nairobi office. Guido died this year at age 34.

William Kamkwamba (product designer)
When it comes to design, innovation and ingenuity, William Kamkwamba has become the veritable poster-child of African ingenuity. Completely self-taught, William figured out how to design and build a windmill power-generator from a photograph in a book. He initially used it to power his house but later modified it to also pump water. He’s since gone on to offer power to other parts of his village with two similar windmills. He stole the show in 2007 at TED Africa and he continues to do remarkable things in both tech and design.

Claude Grunitzky (writer, designer, publisher)
Claude is a true visionary and auteur when it comes to design culture. His magazine Trace (originally True) has grown to become a multi-platform international company, encompassing TRACE Magazine US, TRACE Magazine UK, TRACE Television, regular art exhibits and monthly fashion and music events. I’ve been a fan of Trace Magazine for some time and I’m really excited at how they’ve progressively embraced digital media as a print publication. For instance, each issue of Trace is available as a PDF download.


Again, I know I’m leaving out more people than I could ever hope to include but that’s ultimately a good thing. It showcases the promise of Africa’s more ‘right-brained’ class and gives me a reason to keep this an ongoing thing.

Jon Gosier

Posts

Founder of Apps4Africa, Appfrica, and D8A

6 responses to Where are the African Designers? [Part 2]

  1. 

    While not suitable for all the types of designers, you’ll be able to find many African architectural and interior designers on Designmind, http://www.designmind.co.za.
    We created a network, for members of this community to connect with like-minded professionals, and these individuals are given a space to expose their work as well.
    There are already many prominent members of the African industry on board.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The Lucrative Skills African Talent Should Acquire in 2012 « Appfrica - December 29, 2011

    […] Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers? […]

  2. Tekedia » Desired Skills For African Youth In 2012 - December 30, 2011

    […] Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers? […]

  3. 15 Skills African Tech Talent Must Acquire in 2012 | Afrinnovator - January 3, 2012

    […] Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers? […]

  4. 14 Lucrative Skills African Talent should Acquire in 2012 | Think! blog - January 17, 2012

    […] Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers? […]

  5. 14 Lucrative Skills African Talent should acquire in 2012 | Think! blog - January 17, 2012

    […] Design Look at the majority of African websites. Most websites made by African developers still look like they were made in 1999 using the GeoCities default templates (translation: Fugly). Blegh. There is a bounty out for good African designers. The mistake a lot of programmers make is they assume design is about technical know-how. It’s not – it’s about a sense of aesthetic and attention to detail. If you are a lazy designer, you’re not a designer. If you are a programmer who thinks design is superfluous to your application, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s also a dearth of design talent in the U.S. and Europe and a good designer can command the salary of a top programmer. Where are the African designers? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s