Senegal’s pop culture queen set to shake up Africa's biggest event

Selly Raby Kane in creative lead of Design Indaba 2017

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Since it’s first edition in 1995, the Design Indaba Festival in Cape Town has grown to become one of the world’s leading design events and arguably the most influential platform for creatives in Africa. This year, they add a new chapter to their story in the form of Selly Raby Kane’s appointment as the conference’s first ever external creative director.

Last July, we were lucky enough to have both Selly Raby Kane and Design Indaba’s founder, Ravi Naidoo, on our stage at What Design Can Do Live 2016. They spearheaded our special programme on African design, with Naidoo sharing insights on what it takes to champion a creative revolution, and Selly Raby Kane treating us with her extraordinary fashion designs and surreal artworks. Both talks were instant crowd-favorites.

Apparently, the two also found time off the stage to talk shop. Speaking of their new collaboration, Naidoo told us: “We hosted Selly at Design Indaba two years ago, and since then we’ve been finding new platforms to work together – from exhibitions, like last year’s Africa.Now. expo, to participation in conferences, like What Design Can Do. I actually popped the question of her [becoming our creative director] over dinner at the Rijksmuseum, with the African team we brought over to WDCD!”

A Creative Hybrid

Though still new to the world stage, the roaring success of Raby Kane’s eponymous label and her otherworldly style have already made her an icon of the Dakar creative scene. As creative director of Design Indaba’s 2017 edition, Raby Kane will be free to inject her unique aesthetic into the festival’s many activations and exhibitions. To Naidoo, she was the perfect choice for the job: “Selly is a creative hybrid.. a fashion designer, artist, activist, curator and commissioner… and one of the brightest talents on the continent now. She is very much suited to the Design Indaba ethos.”

We can’t wait to see this collaboration unfold. The Design Indaba Festival will take place in Cape Town, South Africa from 1 – 3 March 2017. Get to know both Ravi Naidoo & Selly Raby Kane by watching their WDCD2016 talks here, and here.

Top: Selly Raby Kane at WDCD Live Amsterdam 2016. Photo by Leo Veger.

Collage, SRK.

Collage, SRK.

A Day With Miss N'Diaye S/S 2016 Collection, SRK.

A Day With Miss N'Diaye S/S 2016 Collection, SRK.

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