‘Motho ke motho ka batho’, a Setswana proverb proves that the human experience is characterised by the experience of others – citing that no man is an island. This falls the same for the creative industry, particularly that creative collaborations are what pulstates industry growth. Lateral growth, that ensures long term sustainability in the industry. Our Afrolutionist Maipelo Zambane documented the presence of this theme at the first day of the expo.
It is my first time out at the UB conference centre, and while I was looking forward to another year of the Ideas Expo I was captivated by the breathtaking views and magnificent designs of the venue that fed well into creating a thriving space for creativity – feeding into Ideas 18. This year, I was looking forward to meeting with regional creatives, listening to their brand stories and gaining knowledge from seasoned professionals in the advertising and marketing industries.
Walking into the outdoor space, the first body of art that captured my eyes were Raymond Geoffrey’s visual photography series titled ‘African Narratives’. He shared that working with local male models, doing his own styling and incorporating recycled materials were all in effort to change the narrative about Botswana creativity, from its perception to its reception. Additionally the Blind Contour by Sade Shoalane, who does free hand drawing of her subject whilst looking at them the entire time. I found her art pieces refreshing and honest.
The outdoor area also featured Divine Morula, a local brand that manufactures a variety of products made from 100% Morula, including juice, jam, lip balm, Morula nut oil, hand and body lotion and hair products. Proud owner, Matilda Ntsetse shared that her non-alcoholic juice had four times more vitamin C than oranges and that it was available all year round.
Letsatsi Republic, another local company, makes and sells bamboo sunglasses and leather protective cases and organizers to carry your phone chargers and earphones respectively. The creative duo shared that they are working on a new range of products. Olerato of Afro Muse is also in the leather manufacturing business and specializes in handmade handbags, wallets, purses and belts. I was honestly fairly disappointed to learn that these creative companies import their leather from various countries, citing local prices as exorbitant.
Xita is a design house that incorporates bold colours and shapes to make handmade statement accessories and Jubilee XXV is a fashion design house looking to expand to making clothes for plus-size people. The women heading these creative companies have pursued different academic qualifications (ICT and Architecture, respectively) but made conscious decisions to invest in their creative abilities. I found that very impressive.
Shammah was showcasing her ‘Motswana’ range of personalized gifts from – tshirts, watches and caps. She loves sharing the story behind the brand as that of celebrating everything that is inherently rooted and unique about this country, Love, honour and respect. Bantu Enclave is a creative collaborative made up of of two females that were taught crocheting at a young age and are now creating fashion pieces, bikinis, hats, cushion covers and jumpsuits. Illustrative a traditional and digital artist was showcasing his most recent work and quality tshirt prints