13 Mar YENZA – Make it! | Celebrating Everyday African Innovation
Yenza is a recognised World Design Capital 2014 project that aims to broaden the context of South African design through the showcasing of self-made objects fashioned, mostly out of necessity, from items found in self-made South African homes.
The Yenza project was started by a group of friends who all work within the same broad field – design. The team are Lucie de Moyencourt ( architect and painter), Renee Rossouw (architect), Kara Furter (stylist ), and Charl Edwards ( art director).
Their first successful exhibition of low cost design ideas sourced from local communities took place at the Design Indaba Exhibition that featured everyday innovations such as sandals made from rubber tyres and a soccer ball made from string and plastic bags.
We chatted to the team to find out more about how they started and where they’re going:
How did the project come about?
The idea for YENZA came about last year. As a group we knew that we wanted to work together on a project for World Design Capital 2014. We all have a keen and common interest in innovative (and beautiful) objects, and we knew that we wanted to create a project which would really showcase everyday African design innovation.
We focused on combining our talents and interests of sourcing, editing, and compiling to produce a pop-up showcase and grouping of these found self-made items sourced from self-made homes. In the end it led us to YENZA, our project, which stands for “do It”/’make it”. This collection was launched at the 2014 Design Indaba, in the form of an interactive and unpretentious stand. The selected objects expose the daily rituals of all South Africans living in townships, highlighting how in Africa, creativity is a necessity.
What would you say defines South African creativity?
Innovation. YENZA showcases this local innovation and ingenuity on a small scale, but gives a good indication of everyday design and innovation taking place in our townships across Africa. Although not intended as the definitive showcase of the self made, it gives a good indication of making and design happening around our continent.
What was your most interesting/ingenious find while sourcing in local communities?
It’s impossible to pinpoint just one, as every find and discovery has a unique story. But perhaps the most memorable was our first “discovery”, which was in the fishing village of Hout Bay. We had no idea what we were looking for, and no idea what we would find. The first self-made home we entered we found the most incredible bucket geyser, made from an old PVC container and the elements of an old kettle. This, to us, is what our project is all about: finding simple and everyday design solutions. Since then we have visited many homes and sites, and have found the most incredible range of design and products.
What’s next for Yenza?
We launched at the most recent Design Indaba as part of the World Design Capital programme. We’re planning another pop-up later this year to align with another WDC2014 event (watch this space!). YENZA will also be talking at the next TREND talk for Plascon, and we are currently still crowdsourcing for our project via Thundafund.
Find more at yenzamake.tumblr.