Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

S3E8: Ravi Naidoo

Ravi Naidoo is the founder of Interactive Africa as well as Design Indaba, an annual conference in Cape Town.

Naidoo organized the first Design Indaba conference in 1995, in the early days of South Africa’s post-Apartheid democracy, when the conventional wisdom was that mining and tourism were the path toward economic renewal. Instead Naidoo put a focus on intellectual and cultural capital:
Africa is not a receptacle to be filled. We are producers with good ideas. We've got a vibrant creative community. And it's particularly affirming for young Africans to stand some of the leading lights in the world and to be presented as peers.
As the conference grew, Design Indaba started inviting leading designers not only to speak but to design low-cost housing and other projects in Cape Town and beyond.

So it's really a lot about doing and not just talking.… You can't do a design conference as a frolic where we entertain designers and commissioners. It has to be relevant, it has to be rooted in the circumstance in which it finds itself — and be a force for good.

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Posted in: Design of Business | Business of Design

Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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