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Resilient communities and citizen-led solutions

Designers, academics, policy makers, activists, entrepreneurs and citizens are invited to this collaborative public forum to learn, engage, network and empower African cities to be resilient. The festival is an opportunity to build relationships, deepen knowledge, and spur collective action. #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL-2019 will spotlight the ordinary everyday activities, host the necessary conversations, and provide skills and information to build stronger and smarter communities and a more resilient future for all.

The two-day conference runs from the 25th - 26th February 2019 at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Monday the 25th February is a full day conference, and Tuesday the 26th February is a day of masterclasses. Speakers are from South Africa, Africa and abroad, and the festival encourages interaction and engagement to #cocreate a more resilient future.


The adverse shocks and stresses being experienced by people and communities in cities across Africa are becoming fiercer, more complex and more intertwined. Navigating these challenges – and finding long-lasting solutions – requires a broad-based societal commitment to co-design solutions that lead to healthier and more resilient African cities and communities.

The #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL, now in its second year, is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. The festival aims to celebrate and examine the power of design to tackle current socio-economic and environmental challenges within an African context. The festival is organised in collaboration with The Craft and Design Institute (CDI) and a curatorial committee coordinated by Rashiq Fataar of Our Future Cities.

The first edition of the initiative in 2018, attracted over 150 professionals, academics, activists and citizens across several events in the city to discuss and share experiences.

The 2019 edition will build on last year’s groundwork, with a focus this year on 'Inspiring Resilience'. The festival will host South African, African and international speakers who will examine what it means to be a resilient city. The festival will celebrate globally inspiring, people-led, on-the-ground projects that demonstrate the achievements of the relentless pursuit of resilience.

“This year’s #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL introduces a platform that welcomes communities to share their experiences and knowledge, showcasing the value of design-thinking. The shocks and stresses impacting our cities affect us all,” said Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, Netherlands Consul General. “It is only through collaboration and open discussion, that our communities will be able to learn from one another, put these learnings into practice and ultimately build resilient cities together.”

According to Rashiq Fataar, Director of Our Future Cities, the adverse shocks and stresses being experienced by individuals and communities in cities across Africa are becoming fiercer, stronger, more complex and more intertwined.

“These acute shocks include drought, the threat of fire, flooding, infrastructure failures and power outages, while persistent and chronic stresses such as crime and violence, climate change, inadequate public transport systems, unemployment and poverty frame the lived experience of millions. Navigating these challenges will require a societal commitment to co-design more resilient African cities and communities,” he said.

Erica Elk, Executive Director of the CDI, said that at its heart the festival is about bringing together people from all walks of life, active citizens who want to share, listen, reflect, learn and inspire new, different and better ways of dealing with the challenges we are facing in our lives and neighbourhoods.

“This festival aims to demystify those ‘big words’ – design, design-led processes and design thinking – by showcasing real life local examples of how this can make a difference. We are taking a collaborative approach, because design can be from citizens, and with citizens.”

When and where?

Workshop 17, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
17 Dock Road
V & A Waterfront
Cape Town
South Africa

Mon 25 Feb 2019 at 8:30 AM (SAST)
Tue 26 Feb 2019 at 5:00 PM (SAST)

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