Namibia Independence Day: Celebrating Social Design


21 years ago on this 21st day of March (I couldn't resist), Namibia gained independence from South Africa.

Interesting facts: Namibia is the world's thirty-fourth largest country as well as being, after Mongolia, the least densely populated country in the world. Home to the Namib, Kalahari and Coastal Deserts, it's no wonder why.


I discovered organization, Pambili Association for Social Design. Working to champion indigenous craft, the organization focuses on capacity building and marketing. With Pambili Young Designers, they hope to educate a new generation of designers who share in their social design aims. Co-founder Melanie Harteveld Becker affirms in a DESIGN> magazine article (page 172):

"It is now widely accepted that designer involvement in communities can serve as a powerful tool in sustainable development."

These are musical words to the ears of a designer – that there is appreciation to how significant a designer's role in society can be, beyond simply making beautiful things.


Upon my initial search, Pambili's online presence was quite elusive but, along with the article mentioned above, I managed to find these presentation notes and another interview with Becker here, with more information about the organisation.

Becker also has an online group, African Design Thinkers, that "invites you to share in creative thinking and expression on the continent. How does DESIGN contribute to the quality of life on the African continent? How can we become involved in design issues that will fortify Africa?"

Excellent questions to explore. Let's delve in …


Top image via, other images via the Pambili Young Designers website.

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