Devote 1cm2 of your skin to human rights, be inspired by forward-thinking international change-makers, take part in the Family Makers Weekend of child-friendly, educational and fun workshops for the whole family, and discover cool tech and handmade products at the interactive maker’s market. These are just a few things to expect, participate in and look forward to at the upcoming Open Design Afrika (ODA) Festival, running from 18-27 October 2019. With its festival hub at the Castle of Good Hope, this interactive community festival will educate and entertain young and old, with the majority of events free to attend, including free entrance for festivalgoers to the Castle for the week of 19-23rd.

Sponsored by the City of Cape Town, the festival focuses on collaboration, skills development, new knowledge, sharing new ideas, inspiring others and the youth and cross-cultural experiences for people from all walks of life to connect, learn and gain new insights in how to be a change maker and active citizen to build a more inclusive and prosperous future together. 

With creativity touted as the top leadership skill of the future and a major currency of the fourth industrial revolution, the festival aims to advocate, demonstrate and celebrate the power and impact of creativity, purpose driven design-led innovation and technology that matters. 

And here are eight more reasons why Open Design Afrika Festival 2019 is not to be missed:

1. Oodles of fun for the kids, youth and adults

The ODA Family Makers Weekend is a free event taking place from 19-20 October at the Castle of Good Hope. There will be heaps of fun things for kids young and old to enjoy (many for free) at the Makers Workshops, such as Six Bricks Lego activities, Robotics, Sensory Workshop, Black Filmmakers Film event andlearning how to upcycle e-waste. Grab a bite to eat at the food trucks and the ODA Coffee Café, browse books at the ODA Book Lounge and go Insta-crazy at the AfrikaBurn mutant vehicles and installation. For some workshops bookings are essential. 

2. Explore the Mother City 

The Festival’s citywide activation events feature various experiences hosted across the city centre, neighbouring communities such as Khayelitsha and Langa. These will include the Impilo Yabantu MarketTownship Walking Tours, walking tours of Bo-KaapWoodstock Street Art Walk, the Octopus Farm Spring Tour, the popular Architecture Open Studios, and the Montebello Design Centre walkabout. There are also a number of workshops happening during citywide activation. Bookings are essential. 

3. Devote 1cm2 of your skin to human rights

Get a tattoo for a good cause at the Human Rights Tattoo (HRT) Event on 18 October at Guga S’Thebe in Langa and show your belief in Human Rights. HRT is tattooing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 6773 people around the world; one character tattooed on one person at a time. In October ODA has the great privilege to host the HRT as part of the festival. 

4. Browse an interactive market

Look out for the interactive ODA Makers Market – a curated market that will showcase Cape Town’s creative, innovative and entrepreneurial talent. Besides viewing products to buy, enjoy live demonstrations (‘show and tell’) or participate and make something yourself.

5. Learn new things at the ODA STEAM EDU Day

Passionate about the role of creativity in the greater education system to prepare and develop a future generation equipped with 21st century skills? Interested in all things science, tech, engineering, art and mathematics related? Then don’t miss a jam-packed STEAM EDU Day consisting of dialogues, exhibits, demonstrations and workshops. Ideal for STEAM enthusiasts, educators, policymakers, school principals and home schoolers. Open Design Afrika STEAM Edu Day is hosted in partnership with Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre. Bookings are essential

6. There’s a class for everyone 

Ever wondered about eco-friendly design? Want to learn how to sew? There is a workshop for every taste and interest, plus loads of interesting demonstrations at the Makers Market, as well as ODA Master Classeson 23 October specifically aimed at civil servants, policymakers, city makers, change makers, social designers and entrepreneurs. Master classes include interactive games with ICLEI Afrika that assist in breaking down power dynamics, and classes on ‘adaptive leadership’ and ‘resource efficiency through industrial symbiosis’ hosted by the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and GreenCape. There will also be a series of seminars exploring

7. Be inspired by local and international change makers

One of the key themes of this year’s festival is that of ‘Wetopia’ – a new form of 21st century activism that stimulates different collaborations between policy makers and civil society. The ODA Wetopia Inspiration Day brings together local and international thought leaders and ‘inspirators’ who will share their successful ‘Wetopian’ projects. Inspirators include community architect Kevin Kimwelle, Michael Uwemedino from Nigeria’s Human City Project, and Brazilian graffiti artist and activist, Mundano. Panellists are inspirational social entrepreneurs creating change within South Afrikan communities and in sectors like agriculture, food security, girl power and recreational activities to improve wellbeing for children. See full line-up on the website. 

8. Explore The Castle for free

Spend a memorable weekend with the whole family at the historical Castle of Good Hope at the ODA Family Makers Weekend. This national heritage site will be buzzing with ODA events between Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th with individual events that follow between Monday 21st and Wednesday 23rd. Entrance to the Castle is free for festivalgoers.

In addition to the above, there will be loads of opportunities to network with others interested in social change, design-led innovation, life changing technology and disruptive ideas at the ODA Festival. Whether you attend a seminar, the Human Rights Tattoo day, participate in a workshop or attend one of the talks, there are opportunities to engage and participate in cross-cultural experiences that inspire and enhance social cohesion and nation building.

“At ODA Festival you will experience why creativity is the unifying thread that links our building blocks with solutions so that we can unlock true Afrikan solutions and innovations that can greatly contribute to the wellbeing and skills development of our people and the design of thriving circular economies”, says Suné Stassen, Co-founder & Executive Director of Open Design Afrika.

“This is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to learn through playing and doing together, and to start developing a mind-set and 21st century skills necessary to thrive in an ever-changing world, such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, sharing, empathy, emotional intelligence and collaboration,” continues Stassen. 

The festival ran consecutively from 2013 until 2017, and is back as a new social enterprise and proudly Afrikan brand named ‘Open Design Afrika’, which now encompasses various social development programmes and consulting services, in addition to the annual festival.

“As a UNESCO City of Design, the City of Cape Town is proud to host Open Design Afrika – an event which continues to provide a platform for local creatives to showcase their design capabilities while also positioning the Mother City as a forward-looking and innovative destination. The creative industries are some of the fastest growing sectors in the world and are a growing contributor to the local economy. ODA is one of the events which continue to build on the legacy of Cape Town being named World Design Capital 2014 and I am pleased that our local talent get to showcase their work on a globally-recognised platform,” said the City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Dan Plato.

More information can be found on the festival website and further festival news and updates will be shared to FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Headline events will be taking place on the following dates:

1.         Human Rights Tattoo Event: 18 October

2.         ODA Family Makers Weekend: 19-20 October

3.         ODA Wetopia Inspiration Day: 21 October

4.         ODA STEAM Edu-Day: 22 October 2019

5.         ODA Wetopia Master Classes

6.         ODA Citywide Activation: 23-27 October 2019

Be sure to visit the website often as new events will continue to be loaded until before the festival launches on 18th October.

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