V&A Waterfront

Joy from Africa to the World reimagines the festive season

Collectively creating the world’s most inspiring
waterfront neighbourhood
 
021 408 7600
V&A Waterfront | Cape Town
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V&A Waterfront
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Joy from Africa to the World reimagines the festive season

These free installations celebrate local art and sustainability

Last updated: 28 December 2023

What does an African festive season look like? 

It’s colourful, like Sindiso Khumalo’s Zulu and Ndebele inspired designs. Its bold baubles reminiscent of Bo-Kaap. It’s art by metal workers, weavers, woodworkers, beaders, illustrators from Imizamo Yethu to the Karoo; and from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe and Senegal. 

It’s awe-inspiring Joy from Africa to the World installations, which are free for you to see all over the V&A Waterfront mall until mid-January 2024. 


All installations are locally sourced and produced in South Africa by African artists. Image: V&A Waterfront 

INNOVATION BY 240 AFRICAN ARTISTS (AND COUNTING) 

Traditionally, festive decor invokes a nostalgia for a Western white Christmas. These decorations are also mass-produced and contribute to an extra one million tons of trash entering landfills each week during the festive season

Joy from Africa to the World reimagines the festive season, turning it into a time to admire and celebrate African innovation and art. Since 2019, the Joy from Africa platform has supported over 70 businesses and 240 artists and makers in creating large-scale visual installations across the V&A mall. 


The installations have lots of intricate details that pay homage to Cape Town, like this parachuter. Image: V&A Waterfront 

FROM LANGA AND PHILIPPI TO THE KAROO

Every single installation is sourced and produced locally, and artists over the years have ranged from Langa, Imizamo Yethu, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and Philippi, to the Karoo, the Eastern Cape, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Senegal. 

This year, the theme is “Between the mountain and the sea”. It has a dual purpose: To highlight Cape Town’s vibrant cultures and communities, and to call for the protection of its natural beauty and environment. 

You’ll see this highlighted throughout the mall, from the giant Christmas tree dotted with proteas and seashells to the massive artistic replicas of the cable car and Cape Wheel. 

 The giant Christmas tree is one of the most popular installations. Image: V&A Waterfront 

ART FROM WEAVERS, WOODWORKERS, BEADERS… 

The installations highlight all kinds of artists and businesses. There’s art from metal workers, designers, weavers, woodworkers, beaders, illustrators and even local clothing businesses like GOOD GOOD GOOD and Art Club and Friends. 

The Summer Palace installation (found in the Victoria Wharf centre court) is designed by Sindiso Khumalo, one of South Africa’s leading textile and fashion designers. Her colourful style is inspired by her Zulu and Ndebele heritage. 


You can also find Santa in the centre court until 24 December. Image: V&A Waterfront 

DECOR MADE FROM REPURPOSED MATERIALS 

Meanwhile, the beaded creatures that you’ll find adorning the palace are made by Monkeybiz. This economic upliftment project is dedicated to reviving African beadwork and empowering women to become financially independent.

There’s also hand-painted papier-mâché standing birds made from recycled paper, wood and Kalahari sand (Themba and Nombulelo Masala); decor created from old scratched baubles and paper from the V&A offices (Wola Nani, an NGO with products crafted by people living with HIV/Aids); felt planets and trees (Ronel Jordaan, known for her signature felting process, the patient hand friction and rubbing of wet wool).


Many of the businesses involved have social upliftment missions. Image: V&A Waterfront 

SEE RENDITIONS OF LOCAL ATTRACTIONS   

Some of the most popular installations are those that highlight the iconic attractions of the city. 

A massive Cape Wheel hangs from the ceiling of the V&A (created from steel and xanita board). It’s adorned with sweet charms like a lighthouse pendant, perspex waves, fish made from recycled plastic tiles and carved wooden parasol riders. 


The Cape Wheel has other charms too, like dolphins, seagulls and beach ball baubles. The Image: V&A Waterfront 

There’s also a replica of the cable car with Bo-Kaap-inspired baubles, felt proteas and sun birds made from beads and steel wire. 

The giant balloon is also a sight to see, created by Sinenhlanhla Chuke (who uses bright colours and experiments with textures to create a distinctly African feel) and Joh Del (known for his whimsical botanical illustrations). 


These Bo-Kaap baubles are distinctly Capetonian. Image: V&A Waterfront 

YOU HAVE A LIMITED TIME TO SEE IT

The Joy from Africa installations are up until mid-January 2024. You can see these installations, for free, across the V&A mall. Read more about the purpose of these installations via the Joy from Africa website

PLUS FIND MORE THINGS TO DO  

There’s plenty of other things to do at the V&A too. You could take your kids (or teens) to cooking workshops at the food hub Maker’s Landing, attend Africa’s biggest New Year’s Eve party and go to free concerts in the artsy Silo District. See what you can get up to at the Waterfront this festive season


Maker’s Landing is hosting children’s cooking workshops. Image: V&A Waterfront 

WIN V&A SHOPPING VOUCHERS 

To celebrate Joy from Africa, from 25 December until 29 December we’ll highlight some special corners and things to do in the iconic V&A neighbourhood. And you could win one of five R1 000 V&A Waterfront gift cards. Enter via our Instagram

T&Cs:

  • Competition runs from 25 to 29 December
  • Gift cards non-refundable and non-transferable
  • Giveaway ends 29 December at 12pm
  • Winners announced 2 January 2024


Celebrate Joy from Africa to the World and stand a chance to win. Image: V&A Waterfront/CapeTownMagazine.com 

SEE THE JOY FROM AFRICA INSTALLATIONS   

Waterfront festive season is on: December 2023 to mid January 2024
Waterfront shopping mall is open: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 9pm
Find them: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Read more: via the Joy From Africa website
Contact them on: 021 408 7600, enquires@waterfront.co.za, @vandawaterfront

By Julia Rowley 

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EXPLORE THE CITY MORE  

There’s lots of affordable outdoor things to do at Battery Park.

You could visit the food hub Makers Landing

Find more art at Cape Town’s art galleries

See what else you can get up to in Cape Town this weekend.

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