Design Indaba is an annual festival held in Cape Town, South Africa that explores the potential of design to transform the world. Design Indaba was founded in 1995 with the intention of revolutionizing social change in South Africa through the language of design. Design as a broad topic provides a conversation for the larger ideas impacting society. Over the years it has expanded it’s scope to include multi-media platforms and a larger global audience of attendees. “It’s not a how-to conference, it’s an inspiring conference,” says Ravi Naidoo, Design Indaba founder. “It’s a conference that teaches you how to think. The speakers on the program are hybrid, twenty-first-century renaissance, trans-disciplinary people, and the way they solve problems in their niche is applicable across industries.”
Design, film, music, the culinary arts and technology are areas emphasized in the programming. The lists of innovative “design gurus” presenting at the conference is impressive: John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, visual artists Nicolas Hlobo and Jeanne Heeswijk, Brazilian Chef Alex Atala, and Masashi Kawamura. South African singer, rapper, producer and DJ, Spoek Mathambo also presents and performs. Over thirty presenters will speak at Design Indaba this year. “Another crucial element is the cityscape,” says Naidoo. “Most of our issues relate back to the urban experience. So even when it comes to the more traditional fields of design like architecture, it’s not so much about building new things nowadays, it’s about retro-engineering existing things too, finding new utilities in the things we already have.” Design Indaba runs from Feb. 27 through Mar. 3 at the Capetown International Convention Center.