How V&A Waterfront is bringing ‘Joy from Africa to the World’ this festive season

How V&A Waterfront is bringing ‘Joy from Africa to the World’ this festive season

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The V&A Waterfront's festive season will bring “Joy from Africa to the World“.

Tinyiko Mageza, the executive manager: marketing at the V&A Waterfront, said they wanted to include meaning and purpose in their festive season plans.

Visitors to the V&A Waterfront will get to experience it differently this year.

“We questioned why we were celebrating and reflecting a world that did not look like ours and we realised that we wanted to infuse the festive season with purpose and meaning. We wanted to do this in a way that showcased authentic African stories and inspired joy. We wanted to buy fewer imported decorations that got thrown away and instead support local, reuse and recycle. We wanted to celebrate our heritage and inspire locals, but also inspire the rest of the world and tell the story of a joyful Africa,” explained Mageza.

Now, two years on, the concept of Joy from Africa to the World has evolved far beyond a festive season, becoming more than just about Christmas decorations and gifting. It has now become a call-to-action for local people to get involved by supporting communities and organisations that make a difference.

In fact, the V&A Waterfront team work months in advance to piece everything together.

“The ethos of this campaign has influenced our ways of working. We have seen the creative possibilities that emerge when a neighbourhood such as ours embraces the communities and diverse cultures that exist right on our doorstep. We hope to inspire others to do the same. We have been contacted by other businesses and brands which are keen to also support and celebrate local, and we hope that more do so this year,” she said.

Last year, more than 1 500 baskets from Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa formed part of the Joy From Africa festive decor. In addition, 187 crafters, makers designers and engineers from five African countries contributed to spreading hope and light through the festive decor by creating additional elements. Around 2 800 plastic bottles and oil barrels were reused to create the displays.

“All this provided income opportunities for local communities, where some women are often sole providers in their families,” said Mageza.

This year, Joy from Africa to the World will be built around four “chapters” or themes: compassion, discovery and creative exploration, dignity and pride, and hope and joy.

“Opportunity, sustainability and inclusivity are at the heart of the Joy from Africa message. It is a celebration of shared values, of community and of local creativity. We want to connect people from different worlds, viewpoints, and geographical locations while continuing to keeping a safe physical distance,” Mageza said.

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