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My top three picks from Cape Town’s (disappointing) Design Indaba expo

By Francis Moran

Design IndabaCape Town’s annual Design Indaba conference and expo, which ran here last week, bills itself as “the┬áleading voice on African design, creativity and innovation.”

The conference part, at a hefty R3,000 (C$320) per day for three days, is well beyond the reach of all but the deepest-pocketed around here and was sold out by the time I learned of it a month ago, so I can’t speak to how representative its program of speakers might have been of the rest this vast continent beyond the host country’s borders.

I was limited to attending the accompanying design expo. Even so, I hit the Cape Town International Conference Centre on the city’s waterfront full of great expectations.

It turned out to be about as good as a Christmas craft show back home. A really good Christmas craft show, granted, and one showcasing designers and products that were new to me. But a Christmas craft show nonetheless. And one that failed to deliver much pan-continental flavour as it was dominated not just by South African vendors but by local Cape Town vendors.

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