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SOPHUMELELA
March 2016
Khaylitsha, Cape Town, South Africa

We travelled to Cape Town as part of IDE's annual "Go Global" project. Teams of four (I worked with Shu-Ting Huang, Eun Kyung Shin, and Jonathan Rankin) were paired with entrepreneurs in the townships of Cape Town.

 

FURNITURE DESIGN IN CAPE TOWN TOWNSHIPS


While carpenter Bonga Mabuya consistently sells dining sets and coffee tables, these products aren't accessible to a large part of Khayelitsha's population. People prioritize informal gathering, entertaining, and relaxing space over formal dining. We designed a lounge chair and a set of stools, both ready for production and priced at less than a quarter of a full dining set, to make Bonga's business, sophumelela, a legitimate option for more people in Khayelitsha.

We came to see our role during the project as experimental designers for Bonga, but in the long term, we hope that in addition to introducing new products, the process of working together on new designs and branding will allow Bonga to continue developing new products specific to Khayelitsha as part of his business.

(Photos by Jonathan Rankin)