10 ways to experience Design Indaba (without actually being there)

Yesterday I woke up from a nap and remembered that I had had not one, but three dreams about Design Indaba. And I’m all the way in Grahamstown…

It’s now day two of Design Indaba 2016 and I am clearly suffering from the most incredible fomo. I had the opportunity to attend last year and I am not exaggerating when I say it was life changing. I have often thought about what I want to do after I graduate, but attending Indaba confirmed that I wanted to live in Cape Town and spend my life surrounded by creative people while I myself hopefully create inspiring things too.


Given the chance, I would be at Design Indaba every year. Unfortunately, tickets are kak expensive and as for accommodation in Cape Town and drinking money for Long Street and Ubers to get me around… Well it’s not going to happen on my student budget.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, so for those who are dying to be part of the experience and can’t attend, here’s a handy list of ways in which you can curb your Design Indaba fomo without the cost of actually being there.

  1. Start your own Indaba!
    Well, not really. Last year while staying at a backpackers in Cape Town (shoutout to Ashanti), a few of us got talking with a random guy in the communal kitchen about the concept of getting together regularly to discuss everything creative. He mentioned a group of people meeting up weekly to discuss design, share ideas and thrive in the presence of fellow creatives, which I think is a fantastic way of bringing together other designer types. I think something like this is long overdue in Grahamstown and if you too think you can benefit, why not start your own little get together and every week invite over local designers to share their wisdom? A sort of church for design if you will.
  2. Browse the Design Indaba website and sign up to the newsletter.
    Every day of the festival, a roundup of the speakers and events are posted, with links to more information and videos. The newsletter is sent throughout the year and not just during Indaba, so whether you attend or not, you have regular doses of creativity to get you going.
  3. Vote for #MBOISA for 2016
    Every year, a collection of fantastically amazing things are curated and exhibited to the public in the search for beauty in design. You can view them here and vote for the Most Beautiful Object In South Africa.
  4. Visit the Boomslang in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
    Voted the Most Beautiful Object In South Africa for 2015, this beautiful and functional work of art is modelled on the skeleton of a snake and lets you walk through the treetops of Kirstenbosch.
  5. Support Emerging Creatives
    In addition to the array of international speakers at Indaba, there is also a platform for local talent to shine. Every year as part of the Emerging Creatives Programme, 40 young designers are chosen to represent the best of South African creative talent. Have a look at who they are and the impressive work they do here.


  1. Follow Design Indaba and search #DesignIndaba
    Instagram has been my source of design porn, and while it probably creates even more fomo, I can’t resist living vicariously through those lucky enough to attend this year.
  2. Buy Dialogues
    While there’s a little bit of everything in digital form, Dialogues is a wonderful collection of conversations with designers who have participated at Indaba over the years. You can buy the ebook here and then share it with me (thanks!)
  3. Watch this piece of amazingness by Imogen Heap
    Because if you can’t experience her in person, at least treat yourself to a little of her magic here.
  4. Catch up on previous Design Indabas
    Their website has an archive of videos of previous speakers dating back to 2006 so indulge yourself. And if videos are your thing, you can also follow their YouTube channel.
  5. Make friends with lots of Design Indaba delegates
    Drop many hints and pray that they miss you so much that next year they take you along. I hope my amazing designer friend Hannah knows this is why we’re friends. That and our mutual love for cupcakes and cats.

Me at Indaba last year having the BEST TIME EVER




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