Hello, my name is Shaakira and I am from South Africa. I’m a recent graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven, passionate about topics like food production, social impact and ecological justice. I recently founded my design studio – Studio Sway.
“Designers stand between revolutions and everyday life. They’re able to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and society and convert those changes into objects and ideas that people can understand.” Paola Antonelli
The above quote resonates with me. After working as a corporate interior architect for a few years in Johannesburg, I decided to take a leap in seeking that niche between momentous change and everyday life. I moved to the Netherlands to follow my curiosity and till today this journey is still unravelling. I was fortunate to have my late parents leave an indelible mark on my life. They both left this earth too soon, yet the impact they relayed to me is enough to carry me through to the end of my own life. They were activists in their own right. They didn’t belong to any organizations, yet they were constantly seeking social change by using resources within their personal capacities.
2020 has been overwhelming, and it’s just the beginning right? Not only did an invisible virus dictate the world, but the killing of George Floyd sparked a global revolution. Through all of it, I was overtly absorbed, aware, felt incredibly heavy, thoughtful, reflective, angry, saddened and surprisingly also quite relieved. The virus equalized global society, while the Black Lives Matter movement showed the stark divisions we knowingly and unknowingly experience.
I am just a brown girl and cannot say that I fully understand the plight and pain of black people. However, having grown up in South Africa, witnessing an unfolding democracy from the ‘apartheid’ regime coupled with all its side effects, pushes me to use my skillset towards positive change. Colonialism and racism exist within my lineage. When I was privileged enough to move to Europe to get a further creative education, I found it difficult to explain to people why my passion for my creative projects was sometimes fueled by sadness and even anger. The change maker within me, flowing perhaps from the blood of generations before me was so alive, yet in my European surrounds, sometimes not fully comprehendible.
The #blacklivesmatter movement is about justice and it begins to address oppression and structural imbalances across the whole color palette of life. Sitting face to face with these unsettling feelings over the last few months, got me to realize that I’m greatly invested in themes and seek mediums through which justice can be advocated, mostly through using my creative skillset. This element has been present within my work till now, sometimes more powerfully and successfully than others. Lately ecological justice has been at the heart of my projects.
22 August is my birthday! My feelings and thoughts of the year so far have brought me to this moment of wanting to give more than receive. In that spirit, I will be celebrating one year older by handing over my instagram platform for stories takeover to a graphic designer, Abdallah Hussein, from the beautiful coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya. We met in 2019 during the HIVOS African Crossroads gathering, where Abdallah was supervising the art installations at Swahili Pot Hub. This hub supports the community to develop themselves through tech, art and heritage. Abdallah’s role at Swahili Pot Hub is diverse, he also adds value to society by mentoring and training other youth in Mombasa. With the help of his colleagues, he will be sharing more about himself, the Swahili Pot Hub as well as the challenges and beauty of being a young, self taught creative in East Africa. Made possible by Studio Sway, these stories will be shared over 3 days i.e.: 22,23,24th August 2020. Follow my instagram account @studio_sway and be sure not to miss it!
If you would like to contribute to Abdallah’s or the Swahili Pot Hub’s future endeavors with expertise or resources then please feel free to get in touch with him directly at the following contacts
Phone: +254 762 601 234
Instagram Abdallah: @official_t.r.a.w.w_
Instagram Swahili Pot Hub: @swahilipothub
If you would like to have a further discussion with me please feel free to write me an email
Here’s to another year full of (good I hope) surprises!
All my best, Shaakira