The V&A Waterfront are supporting local small businesses... while keeping everything proudly South African this Christmas!
Photo Cred: V&A Waterfront

One hundred forty local artisans were invited to spread festive joy at the V&A by using upcycled, sustainable decor which has a proudly South African feel.


Cape Town, South Africa – This year the V&A Waterfront has reimagined the festive season into a celebration of local talent and environmental sustainability. Themed, Joy from Africa to the World, the V&A is presenting an experience aligned to its purpose to collectively create the world’s most inspiring waterfront neighbourhood. The destination has partnered with over 140 African artisans to create a vibrant wonderland made from upcycled materials. In doing so, it hopes to tell a uniquely African story that’s joyful, inspiring and shows what an ‘African festive’ is all about.

Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Manager of Marketing at the V&A, says the reimagined festive fits with the Waterfront’s commitment to sustainable best practices.

“We are building an inclusive neighbourhood in the City of Cape Town. As neighbourhood custodians, we need to create and curate a space that looks after the interests of the people who come here and the environment we’re in.”

She said that in 2017, the V&A announced its commitment to eliminating single-use plastic.

“We aim to reduce use by 40% by 2020. This ambitious goal carried into our festive plans for this year. We decided to lead with purpose and prioritise the things that matter most to us. That meant repurposing past décor, using wastepaper we collect in our waste recovery recycling centre, and choosing sustainable, recycled materials. It also meant considering our economic impact and dedication to creating jobs. We wanted to support the local economy at every level of our supply chain.”

The V&A festive showcase provides a platform for local businesses and entrepreneurs, including Monkeybiz, which empowers women to sell their beautiful beadwork. They made the 59 exquisitely crafted creatures that perch around the Ibhotwe Lasehlotyeni (Summer Palace).

Wola Nani crafters contributed the papier-mâché planets, trees and upcycled baubles. The Wola Nani trust aims to enhance the capacity of the HIV/ Aids sector through research, advocacy, resources and more to improve the wellbeing of communities. 

Langa-based Our Workshop created the upcycled plastic chandeliers, while the baskets come from artists and weavers from all over Africa.

“As people walk through the Victoria Wharf shopping centre and see all the woven baskets glinting in the natural light, I want them to say, ‘This feels like me; this feels like us’. Whether you come from Germany or Germiston, I hope you see these installations and feel a sense of awe and joy. I think they tell a story of what we can do. This is what an African festive is about; vibrant colours and connecting with family and friends from all over the world. I know I personally have been humbled by this project and the experience”

The goal is to showcase how beautiful African creativity is; to tell a positive, authentic narrative about the continent; and to demonstrate the amazing things you can do with waste.

This festive season, visitors to the V&A Waterfront can expect to see:

  • Golden swallows made of recycled metal, swooping through the mall, symbolising peace; 
  • A giant, upcycled Earth hanging suspended; a reminder to be gentle with our world;
  • A Summer Palace, adorned with 59 beaded creatures for little ones to meet;
  • Glinting woven baskets weaving a narrative of unity, speaking to different cultures across our continent; 
  • A beaded reindeer dancing alongside old repurposed Christmas trees skinned with papier-mâché and felt
  • And big baubles shining in their newly upcycled glory.

Check out some of the incredible photos below supplied by both the V&A Waterfront and Shelley Finch!

Sources: Press Release – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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