Juliet Kavishe

Design For The Human Being

Welcome to Episode 23 of Afrika Design: a creative tour of Afrika. Our next stop: Tanzania. Juliet Kavishe brings with her a wealth of experience as a professional Interior Architect born in Tanzania and raised in four countries on two continents. Her personal Design Motto is that impactful design is achieved once you consider the complexities and interrelationships of human beings and their surroundings. In this episode, she walks us through interior and architectural design and the changes that resulted from pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial influence.


*For the best experience, please use a headset/earphones.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/julietkavishe

Website: herartfelt.com

Music by: Ngalah Oreyo (@ngalah_oreyo) and Mercy Barno (@merc.b_)

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Juliet Kavishe: We are designing homes, we're designing offices. Spaces that people will have to be in for a very long time. Will they enjoy the space? What is the quality of the space that you're giving them? Are you allowing them to insert their own personality or are you bombarding them with your ideas?

[00:00:20] Hosts (A/N): Welcome to Africa design, a creative tour of Africa. On this episode, we have Juliet Kavishe, a professional interior architect born in Tanzania. Brought up in four countries on two continents. She talks us through the culture of African design, links between pre-colonial colonial and post-colonial interior and architectural design and culture, afro-minimalism, and her experience being a third culture kid. Her personal design motto is that architecture or design is achieved once

you consider the complexities and interrelationships of human beings and their surroundings.

[00:00:55] Juliet Kavishe: I am Tanzanian by birth but when I was a couple of months old, my mom and I moved to the UK where my dad was doing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. So, both of my parents are academics. Both are scientists. My dad was an engineer and my mom is an ecologist. So, I grew up in a very scientific household. I'm the rebel that decided to lean toward the arts.

[00:01:22] We lived in the UK for a while and then we moved to Kenya. So, I lived in Nairobi for a couple of years. I lived in Eldoret for a couple of years. I did my high school in Limuru, Loreto Limuru. So, I'm familiar with the Kenyan education system. I then did my university here in South Africa, the University of Pretoria.

[00:01:43] And so you see, I'm like every major stage of my life is a different country. Then my family moved to Namibia. And I worked there for a while. I worked in Cape Town. I worked in New York and back in Johannesburg. I've worked on projects globally: Geneva, Dakar, Cote D’Ivoire, Nairobi, South Africa. One now in Providence.

[00:02:10] So I've had a global upbringing. I have a very global outlook on the world because of the way I was raised. I've always been the new kid. And with being the new kid at any place, you develop this respect for the local culture you're about to inhabit.

Observing, respecting, learning the language, learning culture, and hence maybe my interest in culture because when you're new in an environment, you shouldn't impose. You should rather respect, assimilate where you can, and improve with respect, you know? I've been raised like that. And maybe it gives me the authority to speak on how to be, or live as a foreigner in a new place, how to respect the culture, and how to respect the design of a place.

[00:03:08] I'm obsessed with art. I studied art in high school, which also influenced my choice in doing interior design. I'm really interested in human beings and interior design and interior architecture is the relationship between humans first and space. And with humans comes anthropology, culture, and religion.

[00:03:30] So you see where I'm going. We cannot design spaces without humans, without understanding who they are. And this is my life goal. This is my obsession. This is how I teach design, keeping things human-centered about the human beings and the interactions. And I don't think I'd be this person if I didn't grow up the way

I grew up. If I didn't have the exposure I had from a very young age. 

[00:03:59] Adrian/Naitiemu: In your practice, you've done amazing projects all over the world. You've done projects in South Africa, and architectural designs. You've done projects in China, Los Angeles. So, you've kind of you know, really experienced the best of both worlds, what are your takes about this? What are the differences?

[00:04:15] What are the similarities? What can we learn? 

[00:04:18] Juliet Kavishe: Okay, so it comes back to culture. It comes back to standards. One thing I will say, okay. As an interior designer and someone who's practiced architecture; if you design for the human being, more often than not, you'll be successful. I think as designers, we think it's about us. It's not about us, you know, it's, it's about the client.

[00:04:44] It's about the person who's inhabiting that space. We are designing homes, we're designing offices. Spaces that people will have to be in for a very long time. Will they enjoy the space? What is the quality of the space that you're giving them? Are you

allowing them to insert their own personality or are you bombarding them with your ideas?

[00:05:10] So the common thread is; design for your client. Yes, you have training. Yes, there's taste. There's influence. There are trends that you can put into place but, bottom line, design for the human being. Listen to them. What are their hobbies? How many children do they have? How do they socialize? Do they have friends over every

weekend or do they host major balls every two or three years?

[00:05:39] That influences people's spaces. Do they love to cook in the kitchen with the family or do they have a personal chef that they don't want to see? We forget that, that

influences spaces. We've had clients. Well, I've had a client who because of the culture this was a West African client. I was speaking to them and they were like, they don't ever want to see their staff.

[00:06:03] They don't ever want to see the stock. The food just must be there. The house must be cleaned. Yes, we can design staff quarters, but they must be underground. And I sat there going, but what is the quality of the staff members. They're human and the person looked at me perplexed, like, what do you mean? They're staff.

[00:06:21] You know, like this idea of classism and you have to toe that line quite delicately. So, its different cultures are different. We have to pay attention and we have the responsibility to educate, even in that process. Some clients will listen some

won't. You win some, you lose some.

[00:06:42] Adrian/Naitiemu: How do you balance the human-centered design of what humans want now versus what's best for future generations? 

[00:06:50] Juliet Kavishe: Oh, Adrian. It's a complex question. To be quite honest, it's hard. And I haven't been successful in that. I can be honest in saying that. You can propose sustainable choices. You can propose materials. You can propose practices. But again, I design residential homes. Which is very different from a school or a hospital where you answer to a board of directors where there's a social responsibility. When you're designing people's homes, that journey, and that kind of inception of

responsibility and care. It takes a long time and it takes one client or two out of a hundred who would even consider that. They just want their home to look pretty for their friends and for their kids. It's tricky, but it's the reality. 

[00:07:52] Adrian/Naitiemu: What can we learn then in terms of design from previous generations? What can you teach us and the listeners about the culture of African design and how that might help? 

[00:08:02] Juliet Kavishe: Through research, I found that that which we consider to be primitive is actually quite sustainable. The great thing about us Africans is we are very industrious. We know how to use that which we are given. So that which is in front of us, we'll make it work. And that is the epitome of being sustainable of respecting the environment you're in, of respecting self.

[00:08:32] When I first came across the Maasai Manyatta, I was young and we were being taught. I think it was in GHC. Am I betraying my age and where I did school? We were being taught how the Manyattas were made out of twigs and cow dung and mud. And I immediately went, eew, that must smell horrible. But then actually the cow dung is an insecticide.

[00:09:01] It actually works as some kind of motor. So, it actually holds the twigs and the mud together. Who would have thought of that? But the Maasai, who are they? They're nomadic, they herd cows. Their diet consists of meat and milk and blood. And they built with that which they had. And it's something that if it crumbles down, it does not affect the earth.

[00:09:25] It's a sustainable material because they're nomadic, they're going to go and build a Manyatta somewhere else in the new location with where there's a water source. We don't think about that kind of nomadic architecture versus that which we're exposed to versus insecticides, weather, climate. The Serengeti and the Maasai Mara are very hot climates.

[00:09:49] So why would you build a hut that couldn't kind of, what's the word? You know, ventilation. Having a wall that is thick enough to not to absorb the heat, but not release it into the home, release it out into the environment. Things that we study but the Maasai have been doing for years, no one taught them that. They just knew it.

[00:10:14] Why would we not respect that? Why would we negate that? And it's simple. We never look at a Maasai Manyatta and go, this is successful architecture and design. But then I looked back and I went, actually, this is more successful than a glass high rise in Dar es Salaam where they have to put air conditioning inside the building. So

now the electric costs are going up. The grid is being overwhelmed. Do you see where I'm going with this? I'm not saying that we should all build mud huts. I'm just saying there are lessons to be learned from it that could potentially be modernized. Again, human-centered design of being more environmentally conscious.

[00:10:53] Adrian/Naitiemu: Actually in regards to the Manyatta, I've been working on a project that is a VR experience within a Maasai Manyatta. And we went to the village to visit the women there. We went to this village called Twala. And the interesting thing is that one of the old women there told us that the Maasai lived outside in the cold and it was difficult for women, especially if you're pregnant or for kids. Right. And a woman saw the bird making a nest and was actually inspired by that and started making twigs together and was like, how do I make it compact? So, like introducing the cow dung, and that apparently is the birth of the Manyatta. So, all these aspects of biomimicry or like relating to nature and having that thought and creating something incredible.

[00:11:38] And by far, I think it's the most eco-friendly building. 

[00:11:41] Juliet Kavishe: And I also loved that it was done by a woman. Hey,

[00:11:46] Adrian/Naitiemu: Only the women build the Manyattas. It's a woman's job. And even I found out that how tall the Manyatta is, will depend on how tall the woman is. 

[00:11:56] Juliet Kavishe: Wow! Oh, I love a matriarchal society. Those are the ones that thrive. One of the few cultures that have maintained their traditions, unapologetically. I mean, when you think about it, it's 2022 and there's never been a need for them to be more than who they are. 

[00:12:20] I find it quite poetic and I respect it, a lot. Yeah. Wow. Stunning, thank you for that. That's a little tidbit I didn't know.

[00:12:36] Juliet Kavishe: I'm currently doing research on language and type, African type.

[00:13:03] Juliet Kavishe: And I think Professor Saki wrote African alphabets. I think my curiosity stemmed from that as well.

[00:13:10] And this interest in how we represent language. How that will tie back into design and architecture. It has, but it's my research. I'm not willing to share it yet, but there is a correlation between language, culture, and design. That I'm finding quite

fascinating. Adrian, I would say that's where I am right now.

[00:13:31] And I'm excited about it. I think also with PADI, Pan-African Design Institute. It has introduced me to a wealth of people who are super intelligent and knowledgeable. It's unbelievable what people have done already in terms of research on the continent and about the continents’ design. And as someone who studied in South Africa to have access to Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan, Tanzanian, Ethiopian

designers who are also practicing and teaching design and from graphic to visual to multimedia, and figuring out how to incorporate all these design industries together and to produce products and collaborate.

[00:14:19] I think we're living in a very good time and a fascinating time, and we're taking advantage of the technology to connect. And I think that's where the future lies. We are no longer living in these silos of design. In order for us to... not to say, to

beat the trends but I think as a continent in order for us to move forward and be united in some kind of way to promote the millions of cultures and languages that we have on this continent. The crossover of the mediums of design, of the mediums of communication. The respect that we have for each other. The inherent respect we have as Africans for our elders.

[00:15:04] That will work to our advantage. I haven't seen that anywhere else. Maybe in China, in Asia. There's still this reverence for elders and there's a wealth of knowledge that our elders hold and I'm trying to get as much of that as possible because soon we

will be the next elders, guys. We're next.

[00:15:27] Adrian/Naitiemu: Yeah. Starting to, starting to feel that way, but you know, 75% of the Kenyan population is under 35 and I'm 34. So, we're nearly about to be older than three-quarters of the country here. So, you don't realize it, but yeah.

[00:15:48] It does. But with that comes, I guess all the things that we get to do. Time does fly. We need to document grandparents and all the people whose knowledge needs to come through to us. So, what links have you made between architectural design, interior design, and culture within either pre-colonial or colonial, or post-colonial Africa?

[00:16:10] Juliet Kavishe: I think, pre-colonial. I could be biased but was very honest on the continent. I think the word is honest. It was honest. It was functional. Yes, there were aesthetics. So, if we look at the Ndebele, we look at Mali, we look at Cote d Ivoire, the cultures there. The aesthetic application was after the fact that it served a purpose, shelter.

[00:16:37] Can I sit on it? Can I eat on it? Can it sift the seeds? Can I pound seeds with it? It was functional. The artifact was functional. The product was functional. The interior space, the way it was arranged, it was more about communal space. So, we sat in a circle and we engaged with each other at an equal level, all stemming from culture.

[00:17:00] It was honest. The colonization happened and during colonial times, it was more about serving the oppressor. And we had to survive and adapt to the oppressors’ way of doing things in order to serve them. We had to learn how their houses are arranged, how their houses need to be cleaned, how their clothes need to look, ironed;

how we needed to dress so that they felt respected.

[00:17:27] It all had to do with the oppressor and we lost self, in order to survive. I don't think we realize the trauma that lies in that time where you have to do something in order to survive. That is years of trauma. And that's years of desensitization to that

which was what came ‘natural’ to you.

[00:17:53] Post colonialization, depending on what part of the continent you are on. And depending on the political structures that were in place on whatever part of the continent you're on; it became a moment where we celebrated freedom from the oppressor but we were already entrenched in their presses culture. And that's what we

deemed to be the best because we were told that which we had was outdated.

[00:18:19] It was demonic. It was not of Christ. So, we neglected it and I think our grandparents stuck with those traditions. They weren't overtly open with them because they wouldn't know how to relate to the new generation. But you could see it in the little routines, the way they prepare the food, where they prepared the food.

[00:18:39] Was it in the homestead? Was it a homestead outside of the house? How the homestead was arranged? We called it the village. We didn't want to go back to the village because again, we deemed it to not be of a certain status. We all wanted to be in town, in the city. And now it's 2022 and we're all yearning to find self because we've been again through a very traumatic experience, globally. And as Africans we found

ourselves in most cases, fending for ourselves and trying to come up with solutions to survive COVID. And do it for ourselves. And I think that helped us in a way. That realization that we had to come up with our own solutions and stick to our guns, helped us. 

[00:19:29] And we're now going back and respecting self and going, okay, what are the herbs that grandmother used? What did we use to steam with? You know, that research is back. It's not deemed as how do I put it? As old-fashioned, but it's now called healthy living. And going back to the environment and being in touch with our roots, all these buzz words.

[00:19:56] In a way I'm glad we're going back to ourselves and we're learning from our elders. But it's just been this cyclical process. And I pray as a continent, we stay in that moment of pride because we can do a lot and we have a lot of resources. We are a

humble people but, in that humility, comes love and respect for each other.

[00:20:20] And I think that's what makes the world turn around. That's what will save us as a continent. 

[00:20:25] Adrian/Naitiemu: Was it Trevor Noah or someone else who said that when Africans walk around barefooted, it's perceived as primitive. But when other people do it, it's perceived as being at one... 

[00:20:36] Juliet Kavishe: with the Earth, grounded, centered.

[00:20:42] Adrian/Naitiemu: We had all these elements of self-reflection, self-intuition, and connection from our past. And so, you know, we need to be grounded. We need to go back to this. You're a self-proclaimed Afro-minimalist. Tell us more about that. 

[00:20:59] Juliet Kavishe: It's part of, let me put it this way. When I walk into a room with my Afro hair. Okay. Already there's this perception that she's not going to be who you expect she'll be. Okay. So, I don't have my weave. There's this idea of the Afro hair, which I call my crown. But I dress in black, you know, I want to speak about a certain thing. I want to teach about a certain thing. But there's a part of me that will always love Africa and I am striving to learn more. I haven't even touched the surface. There

are so many countries, so many cultures that Afra minimalism, I'm a minimalist at heart. Less is more, but, that less, is impactful. Okay. 

[00:21:48] So that's where my Afro-minimalism comes in. The impact is bite-sized, it's small, but you know, little by little, they say 'Kidogo kidogo...' Can't remember the methali. It's been years, but little by little you'll get there. Right. It adds up. So yes,

Afro-minimalist. 

[00:22:10] Adrian/Naitiemu: The methali 'Haba na haba hujaza kibaba.' 

[00:22:15] Juliet Kavishe: Yes.

[00:22:22] Love it.

[00:22:23] Yeah. 

[00:22:24] Adrian/Naitiemu: Yeah.

[00:22:24] I wanted to know, how does one become an Afro minimalist? How do people listening to you… how do people listening to you pay attention to that more so that they can put that into their own lifestyle? 

[00:22:38] Juliet Kavishe: I have never thought about this. And now, Adrian, you've given me an idea. Maybe this becomes a curriculum change. Maybe this becomes a subject I teach. What is that for minimalism? It's interesting how you embody self or whatever journey it takes for you to embody self and accept who you are.

[00:23:00] With all the cultures that I am, or the cultures that I've been exposed to and, you know, honed in on this one, and I've never actually thought about this Adrian, like how would one express self within that framework? So, great idea. I will think about it and I will get back to you guys. Maybe in the next podcast we'll talk about Afro-minimalism.

[00:23:25] Adrian/Naitiemu: On the culture then, first of all, we wanted to know if your names mean anything? 

[00:23:29] Juliet Kavishe: So, Juliet. Romeo and Juliet. My dad named me Juliet. Kavishe is a Chagga surname. It's quite popular in Tanzania. My grandfather explained it. So, if you speak Swahili, it will make sense. 'Kukaa chini', to sit. Kuvisha, so to like 'to lay' or 'to clothe'. The idea was that for the Kavishe clan, it seemed that things came easy to them.

[00:23:58] They would sit down and they would get the blessings. So, I'm holding onto that surname as much as I can. I think it's such a blessing. 

[00:24:08] Adrian/Naitiemu: That's brilliant. And you know, most people we speak to, we're trying to ask everyone that question. Most people like the name they have, which is probably a change from hearing that people are bored with their names in certain places. 

[00:24:21] Yeah, yeah.

[00:24:24] I was thinking of design and culture, interior design. The space, influences our behavior. Right. It's directly influenced how we behave and how we connect with each other. Are there aspects of this that you have specifically employed in your designs, in the modern-day designs that have influenced this? And how are they related to culture also? 

[00:24:45] Juliet Kavishe: Again, depending on the community that the client resides in if they're American, Asian, or African. There are certain things that you can immediately ask. I think an example I gave earlier is about entertaining and hobbies, but how do you commune as a family? Okay. So, for example, if you as a family enjoy cooking, right. You're going to place the kitchen front and center and it's not going to be a closed-off room that, you know, you'd want to be in the kitchen and be able to socialize with whoever's in the lounge and the dining room. That becomes a spatial

planning choice that you make. Right.

[00:25:25] Whereas there're people who just want to show kitchen for, you know, whatever. The dining room is never really used. It's just used when they're guests once or twice, but they actually commune more in a TV room. Right. So, then you get those houses that have the family room but then they have a lounge that no one really sits

in and all the furniture is perfect.

[00:25:49] I think we've all visited that home. When you walk past the room and you go 'no one really uses that room'. Why does it exist? Right? Because the family would rather socialize elsewhere. So, these are the choices that I make as a designer when I'm chatting to my clients, the family culture. So over and above the cultural

cultures, the tribe. What is the family culture? 

[00:26:12] What is that household’s culture? How do they interact with each other? Does the father need a study that needs to be private and has his own look and feel? Does the mother need a studio or would they rather have a joint study and studio? How aesthetically do you handle those personalities? Are the children allowed to interact with guests or do they need a separate room to play as kids? Questions that we don't

think are important.

[00:26:45] And we all end up doing these cookie-cutter homes, but actually have an impact on how your clients will use the space and whether they will deem it a successful design or not. It can look pretty. But if it's not usable, what's the point? You haven't really created a space for them. So those are the things that I kind of look at. 

[00:27:05] Adrian/Naitiemu: Hmm. Interesting. So, a lot of these designs are based on individual preferences, right? While in the past, I think it was kind of similar. Like the communal homesteads was like, we have a homestead like we went to visit Bombas of Kenya the other day and they have like 22 different homesteads of traditional tribes and each tribe was different. But you find the first wife’s house, the second wife’s house, third, husband, granary. It was more communal. And now it's more like an individual's taste.

[00:27:35] Juliet Kavishe: Yeah, it's different. We've separated from the community and even those who do build a home in the village, it doesn't necessarily look like pre-colonial homes. It's still that post-colonial aesthetic because some, you know, it's that deeming that the post-colonial is better. However, I will say with most African households, there's always a room for the mother-in-law and I'm not kidding you.

[00:28:06] There's always a room, which again, right. It always comes up with a guest suite, a little cottage at the back of the house, fully kitted-out kitchen for the mother-in-law. Which means there's an understanding of the extended family participating in the nuclear family's culture and day-to-day lives.

[00:28:28] Right. It's something that we instinctively do. Mother-in-law's going to visit. She needs her own space so that it doesn't interrupt my husband or my wife. How do we make it comfortable for her? It's a cultural thing. Even in my parents' home in Dar es

Salaam. They have a guest suite on the ground floor for guests, like for their sisters visiting, my uncles visiting.

[00:28:52] So that there's a private suite for the family on the top floor. But on the ground floor, visitors can stay comfortably with their own kitted-out suite. These are things that we would understand the moment I said that you both went. Yeah, yeah,

yeah. You understood what I meant. So, there is a bit of culture, but it's still quite singular when it comes to residential spaces.

[00:29:16] I think when it comes to corporate spaces, workplaces. It becomes more about the corporate culture. Okay. So, is the corporate culture afro-futuristic? Are they pushing the African agenda or not? And as a designer, you have to respect that. You can push your agenda but again, it's not about us.

[00:29:38] It's not about our ego, it's about your client and they need to inhabit that space. And I think we forget that as designers. 

[00:29:45] Adrian/Naitiemu: This is all really interesting. And Naitiemu was reading a book. Segmented Worlds and Self by Yi-Fu Tuan. 

[00:29:52] Juliet Kavishe: oh, wow. 

[00:29:53] Adrian/Naitiemu: It's really amazing. It's really focused more on the Victorian and Chinese architecture and changes within the homestead interior.

[00:30:02] And it was really interesting how things have changed and why they've changed, you know. Even the introduction of the portrait and how that was more so showing how the nuclear family came in. And then there was that ownership of this is my nuclear family and there's a portrait on how that started out.

[00:30:18] And then how in the past, people who are in power, people who are rich, or people who own like a lot of stuff would find a lot of pride in sharing that with the servants, having servants at a place of respect. And then how things changed with time and how people started having more focus on their nuclear spaces and that

introduced the back stairs whereby you don't want to see the servants.

[00:30:40] Get the back stairs, go down into the basement. We don't want to see you the whole day. And just those changes that influence architecture, you know. Our way of thinking changes our architecture. And how even the relationship with children, how it changed from children being allowed into a lot of different, let's say activities to being like... 

[00:31:00] Juliet Kavishe: Segregated. Yeah. 

[00:31:02] Adrian/Naitiemu: And from this book, you get to see like when they refer to Africa. It was more about let's have communication and find a conclusion together. A lot of African societies were egalitarian societies, as opposed to perhaps the west, which were different. Authoritarian. 

[00:31:18] Juliet Kavishe: I love that. I'm going to look for this and try and see if they're parallels with Africa, but it's exactly that. It's exactly this ‘pride’ in the family. This acknowledgment of the extended family and access to the nucleus family. It's the pride in having self-servants. Whereas in other countries there's a shame to having servants. So, we hide them. How does the homestead design evolve around that? And again, it's coming back to understanding the person you're designing for and the culture they're

inhabiting and the things they want to showcase and that which they want to hide and accommodating that in a tasteful manner that makes them comfortable.

[00:32:02] I love it. I love it. I'm going to look for this book. 

[00:32:05] Adrian/Naitiemu: Great, we've got a PDF of it as well actually but it will be good for you to find the physical copy. We were wondering because we're calling this a creative tour of Africa. And, for some people that means that they represent one country. But what flags would you feel that… and flags are another colonial piece of design that we can talk about.

[00:32:26] Or post-colonial but yeah, which flags represent you? 

[00:32:30] Juliet Kavishe: Oh, dear. That is a hard one for someone like me. I call myself a citizen of the world. There's always that question: where are you from? And I always respond where I was born, what my passport says, where I'm living now, where my parents live. It's quite a challenging question for me.

[00:32:50] I will always say I'm Tanzanian because that is the culture, I grew up in. Even though I didn't grow up in Tanzania. My parents are Tanzanian and they raised me to speak Swahili, to understand Swahili, to communicate with my family. I was raised in the Tanzanian culture. So that would be the flag I will fly.

[00:33:10] However, there's a part of me that feels South African. There's a part of me that feels Namibian. There's a part of me that feels British. I'm a third culture kid, as one would say, you know. Someone who is not of the culture they were born into and I

embrace it. I think there's an advantage to being like that and that becomes my

identity, being of third culture. 

[00:33:35] Adrian/Naitiemu: That's kind of nicely taken us in a loop. As a third culture kid, do you feel a responsibility or a privilege in the way that you understand the world?

[00:33:44] Juliet Kavishe: I would say I feel both. I do feel privileged. It's something I acknowledge. Unfortunately, there're instances where I hide it. Where I've hidden that knowledge in the past. Where I've been very quiet about the way I was raised in my identity and their moments. And because of that, I take huge responsibility because of that privilege in being aware, researching, respecting, and teaching. Where can… were having an opportunity like this to speak on the things that I love, to speak on the

things that I'm passionate about, to speak about my multicultural experience, my multicultural self. It's a privilege and a responsibility that I don't take lightly at all.

[00:34:35] And I pray that as I get older and wiser that I will treat this privilege with the respect that it deserves because my parents worked really hard to make me be exposed as I am. And hopefully, my future kids will... and my current students who I call them my kids, will benefit from this knowledge.

[00:34:57] Adrian/Naitiemu: Amazing. I love your hair. It's really beautiful. 

[00:35:00] Juliet Kavishe: Thank you. Thanks.

[00:35:05] Adrian/Naitiemu: Yeah. Brilliant. Any questions for us or any other things you'd like to share or yes, questions for the community? 

[00:35:13] Juliet Kavishe: I think what you guys are doing is outstanding. I wish a community like yours existed when I was doing my high school in Kenya. There needs to be more conversations and our generation will be the change-makers. We can't wait for our elders to do this. We can encourage the youngsters to join in, but if we don't show them that we are the change-makers and actually illustrate that change. They're not going to be swayed. So, I commend your work. I commend what you're doing. I think this is something that's needed in East Africa. I wish there's a way we could pull Tanzania into this, Uganda, and the rest of the East African community. I think what Design Kenya is doing is absolutely stunning. 

[00:36:02] The kind of conversations and dialogues we're having are eliciting change. They are changing the way we think about our normative positions as designers and I

commend you a lot and I respect the work that you're doing. It takes brave people to want to change the world. So, thank you.

[00:36:26] Adrian/Naitiemu: That's really kind of you.

[00:36:29] Juliet Kavishe: And I think pride in who you are. That's where it should start. Once you're proud of who you are it gets easier to notice that which is not aligning with self.

[00:36:39] Adrian/Naitiemu: That's a really good place. Have you got anything that you would like people to contact you about specifically? 

[00:36:45] Juliet Kavishe: Hmm. I want to talk more about design. I want to talk more about African design. I want to talk to students. Kids who are doing art and design. Network with educators, network with companies that are interested in educating their staff, or they're changing the company culture and finding a way to infuse, you know, the African design in their company culture. This is speaking to companies that are based on the continent. Okay. Countries that are not based on the continent. Yes. They can infuse it in order to respect their employees. But I want to start work on the continent. I think there's a lot of work we need to do and I'd love to speak to anyone and collaborate with anyone within those spaces.

[00:37:34] And let's see how we can champion Africa. 

[00:37:36] Adrian/Naitiemu: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thoroughly enjoyed this conversation.

[00:37:44] Juliet Kavishe: Oh, it's a pleasure.

[00:37:45] Hosts (A/N): On the next episode of Afrika Design, we'll explore African visual identities with Osmond Tshuma. Osmond is a Zimbabwean-born artist, designer, director, typographer, and curator. 

[00:37:58] His passion for African-inspired visual themes has led him to work on projects such as the Obama foundation's African leaders’ program, visual identity. Where he developed everything from the logo to the patterns and the merchandise. 

[00:38:12] He has also researched and reinterpreted cultures from every corner of the continent. In a project that celebrates a condense through typographical and visual

representation. 

[00:38:23] Podcast Outro (Adrian): If you have any ideas for episodes we should do, and people we should host on the show, please let us know. We're really, really interested in hearing your thoughts. And if you've made it this far, a review would mean so much to us as well on whichever platform you are listening to us on. Or even a recommendation to one of your friends or through a tweet.

[00:38:45] We hope to get these stories out there to more people. I'm Adrian Jankowiak and my co-host is Naitiemu. This episode was edited by David King'ori with music by Ngalah and Mercy Barno. Thank you for tuning in to Africa design.

Episode Credits

Produced by Nairobi Design Week

Hosts: Naitiemu and Adrian Jankowiak

Editor: David King'ori

Shorts & Artwork: Felix Owaga

Music: Ngalah Oreyo (@ngalah_oreyo) and Mercy Barno (@merc.b_)


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