Tapiwa Matsinde is putting African artisans on the map

Tapiwa Matsinde

Author, independent writer, content creator and guest curator Tapiwa Matsinde chats to us about taking part in the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair 2017. By Fundiswa Nkwanyana

Pictures: Facebook

I was exposed to the arts and craft as a child growing up in Zimbabwe. Local residents showcased their artwork at every corner, and I became drawn to it. I became fascinated about what could be achieved with hand skills such as beading, basketry, weaving and wood carving.

I’ve always aspired to be in the creative industry. I started out as a graphic designer and later transitioned into writing about African design through my blog called Atelier Fifty-Five. My career revolves around highlighting as well as promoting designers and work that shapes Africa’s design industries.

I’m honored to be a guest curator at this year’s Sanlam fair. I selected five designers whose work will be showcased in the Well Made in Africa section. I chose African designers who are committed to producing in Africa to allow them the opportunity to showcase their work and gain exposure to the South African retail market. I’m glad to be part of the fair because it will give consumers a chance to discover, touch and purchase products. They will also get to know the designers and their stories.

Tapiwa Matsinde books

I’m excited that the concept of buying proudly African products is finally gaining momentum. People have become aware of the importance of buying local brands. The private sector is getting involved by sponsoring events that showcase local designs and help artists to gain exposure. But, the government needs to support local design industries by providing initiatives for export and investing in design education. As Africans, we also need to support our own because that is how our designers will thrive.

I love what I do because I tell the world about Africa’s growing creative industry. I play a vital role in changing the way the international world views African artwork because through my book, Contemporary Design Africa, I celebrate African design aesthetic. I’m glad that I can now help the African design industry.

The 2017 Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair takes place from 13 to 15 October at Hyde Park Corner Rooftop.