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Experience festive cheer this season with 'Joy from Africa to the World'

In its fifth year running, ‘Joy from Africa to the World’ was recently unveiled at the V&A Waterfront ahead of the festive season. Complete with hand-beading, weaving and welding, we take time to appreciate these artists and their craft

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By Yashna Balwanth | November 22, 2023 | Trends

The V&A Waterfront’s Joy from Africa to the World festive campaign showcases the combination of innovative African arts, crafts and design coupled with a purpose-led shared value business approach to achieve sustainable success.

Continuing the momentum created over a five-year journey of collaboration and creativity, this year promises to deliver a variety of large-scale, visual show pieces and installations. Each of these installations have been conceptualised to shine a spotlight on the importance of preserving traditional handcraft and merging it with circularity and contemporary design. Featuring bursts of colour and intricate detail, every part of this project is firmly rooted in sustainability – a core value of the V&A Waterfront’s way of doing business.

This year over 20 teams of local crafters, designers and artists have been at work to step up the creative ante on previous years, bringing to life this year’s theme: Between the Mountain and the Sea, which pays homage to the Mother City and its beautiful landscapes, iconic landmarks and the unique culture that make it the world-renowned destination that it is.

Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Manager at the V&A Waterfront, mentions “Joy from Africa channels investment towards independent artisans, small local art, craft and design businesses and creative communities. This collective of partners in turn help us create far more sustainable, unique and compelling festive displays that reflect our heritage and support the mission to restore the relevance of African craft; often passed down through the generations.”

Artists, illustrators and crafters from Langa, Imizamo Yethu, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi, and from as far afield as the Karoo, the Eastern Cape, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Senegal have over the years been commissioned to work with local, sustainable materials to create art installations that get exhibited across the V&A Waterfront precinct – from the mall, to markets and the exterior spaces between the buildings.

Cathy O’Clery, creative director of Platform Creative said “There’s an extra level of ingenuity and fresh talent from young designers. It’s been wonderful to see how creative young people are engaging with the materials, learning from each other and collaborating with the creative brief in efficient ways with sustainability at the heart of it. This year’s creative theme “Between the Mountain and the Sea” was inspired by Cape Town’s unique sense of place, biodiversity and environment.“

“Since its inception, the award-winning Joy from Africa to the World collaboration has been intentional about ensuring that every partner and individual on the project is credited and invited to see their work showcased at the V&A – something that rarely happens as their craft is often shipped off to private homes, exhibitions, museums often abroad. Beyond the socio-economic impact, the pride everyone feels when they see the finished installations and the imprint they have left on each of the showpieces once they are stitched together, is what really makes this project even more special” Says Tinyiko.

Beaded artwork on the ferris wheel display, Image supplied

List of Joy from Africa to the World makers:


Joh Del

Studio 99Perspective Mo Art Studio




• Ashanti

• Master Wire and Bead Craft

• Kieskamma

• Monkeybiz

• Makombe Arts

• Bongolomba Carvings

• Africa Art

• Embrace Collective

• Jacques Potgieter

• Ronel Jordaan

• Boabab

• Imaterial

• Modern Gesture

• Re.Bag.Re.Use

• Art Club and Friends

• Good Good Good