'No more fake snow!' V&A Waterfront shows visitors what an African Christmas should look like

"I have done this. I walk into the best mall of Africa, and I see my hands." - Local artisan. 

This year, the V&A Waterfront has reimagined the festive season, choosing not to import Christmas decorations, but is rather celebrating local talent and environmental sustainability by decorating its halls in the most magical of ways.

Themed, Joy from Africa to the World the destination has partnered with over 140 African artisans to create a vibrant wonderland made from upcycled materials.

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(MonkeyBiz crafter. PHOTO: V&A Waterfront)

In doing so, it hopes to tell a uniquely African story that’s joyful, inspiring and shows what an ‘African festive’ season' is all about.

No more fake snow! 

READ: Want to be an elf in Finland? Santa is hiring 

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(PHOTO: V&A Waterfront)

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(PHOTO: V&A Waterfront) 

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(PHOTO: V&A Waterfront) 

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(PHOTO: V&A Waterfront)

But it's more than just Christmas decor, it's about creating jobs. And instilling pride. 

The Joy of Africa to the World project hopes to give back to communities, and to teach the consumer to think before they shop. Think about what are the stories behind the products that you buy, who made the product and who does it benefit.

90% of these decorations were made by women. Behind each basket, is a woman. The quirk, the wobble, the weave, every basket is uniquely handmade and carries a bit of every woman along with it.

PICS: Festive season loading! Cape Town's Christmas lights switched on

Sindiso Khumalo is the designer of the V&A Waterfront’s festive Summer Palace – a must-see feature for visitors big and small. It's a wonderland where children can meet Mother Earth and the Guardian of Joy, and their magical menagerie of beaded creatures.

V & A Waterfront Festive Campaign. Client: Platfor

(Sindiso Khumalo. PHOTO: V&A Waterfront) 

Ambitious in scope, Khumalo designed the surfaces of the palace, along with the costumes for Mother Earth and the Guardian of Joy. This talented designer was a perfect match for the project. She says it has been a meaningful journey, “I am very much Capetonian in the sense that I went to university here, I had my first job here and I live here now with my family. The V&A Waterfront is an anchor place in this city.

"I have memories of going there with my parents and visiting after university, so, it’s a place that is within my history. It’s meant a lot to be there and create something that celebrates this city.

"The project is also a nice lift from the traditional – hopefully more will take it on board. Making the festive season our own has been a really special part of the whole process.”  

Go check it out now, it truly is an African wonderland.

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