Design with a larger purpose


Zahira Asmal has an unusual self-made job; she looks for gaps in which she can bring together architects, city managers, government officials, designers, advertisers, to bend their intelligence to making lives better for those usually not served by the design industry. During the World Cup in 2010 she brought an array of people in the media to South Africa to do more than just imbibe the ready-made spectacle in the stadiums, she got them to engage with the country at all sorts of levels and to produce stories from that experience. One of her bugbears is how this country presents itself to the world (a parade of game reserves, beadwork and ethnic dancing) and she has made strenuous interventions in getting those responsible for this image abroad to think more carefully about its presentation and intention. Designing South Africa is her business and she talked about it at Think!Fest: Zahira Asmal

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