In 2021, the award-winning festive-season installations for Joy from Africa to the World were the culmination of a year of projects, exhibitions, stories and initiatives related to the themes of compassion, discovery, pride and joy. Directly linked to the final pillar of joy, these decorations once again inspired delight across the V&A Waterfront neighbourhood. Basketry, beading, felt, papier-mâché and more offered an authentic African narrative for the festive season, through sustainable decorations, made locally by craftspeople and designers who have become part of the Waterfront’s creative ecosystem over the three years that this project has evolved. The illustrations for the 2021 season were created by Phathu Nembilwi, and show people enjoying different parts of the Waterfront.
Under the theme of celebrating light and hope, Joy from Africa to the World 2020 was a continuation of the previous year’s festive-season campaign at the V&A Waterfront. It championed handcraft and provided employment and hope to many makers after a year of hardship throughout lockdown. Environmentally friendly, repurposed and recycled materials were given priority in the festive installations, and even the previous year’s installations evolved to take new forms. This, together with the promotion of South African designers, illustrators and children’s NPOs resulted in the campaign being a finalist in South Africa’s most lauded creative awards, the Loeries.
After many years of tinsel, fake Christmas trees and shiny baubles, the V&A Waterfront’s festive season was given an African twist with Joy from Africa to the World – a campaign that commissioned local craftspeople and design studios to produce decorative installations made from beading, basketry, felt application, papier-mâché and more. Awarded the Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Innovation Award in 2020, it placed African handcraft and the use of sustainable materials at the forefront of this truly African tale, repurposing old decorations and creating cascading basket installations to represent weaving traditions around the continent. Even the North Pole was replaced by a Summer Palace, where Mother Earth and the Guardian of Joy reside.
Illustrations commissioned to five young creatives around South Africa capture the vibrant and compassionate spirit of Joy from Africa to the World. Each illustrator’s uniquely fresh style can be seen in 5 Compassionate Communities, where Angelina Wicker, Chloë te Water Naudé, Nick Ntuli, Phathu Nembilwi and Phila Hillie bring these caring projects to life. Phathu Nembilwi also created the overall identity for Joy from Africa to the World 2021, and her illustrations of people enjoying the V&A Waterfront neighbourhood relate to the themes of compassion, discovery, pride and joy.