Easy, say it with me: “swee-kee-ree!”.
SWIKIRI is YOU. SWIKIRI is merely a STAGE
SPACE provided for and by creative people with African interests
at heart. It is beyond the client brief and corporate/commercial
agenda. It allows you to express yourself. Through frustration
boiling over from conservative client briefings and lack of
interaction in our creative industry (beyond pretentious agency
herdings), we decided to begin something that would allow us
to be more expressive and provocative. Inspiration led us to
venture into a project where we could promote and create an
African experience and aesthetic to be shared by other creative
Africans and allow them the freedom and opportunity to expose
their skills and experiences to those not privileged to share
the attitude or continent.
SWIKIRI is dynamic; it IS what YOU make of it.
, what does it mean??
SWIKIRI means Sugar. It is a basic commodity
that sweetens many lives, rich and poor, every day. It is a
word that comes from the Sotho language of southern Africa (perhaps
others too?). SWIKIRI is pronounced phonetically and leaves
you smiling after you’ve said it out loud.
It is sweet like the African experience.
Sweet Mama Afrika!
About two years ago three designers (Rory
Campbell, Bruce Knotze and Stefan Brits) toyed with the idea
of promoting South African design on the way to Cape Town for
a Design Conference. The initial idea was to launch a ‘magazine’
of sorts but soon realised the limitations of the medium and
more importantly the financial constraints. (there was also
an excellent magazine doing just that ->
) The concept grew stronger when more about the concept
of the African Renaissance was discussed. And we soon realised
the most accessible possibility lay on the web. SWIKIRI
launched and ran for a short while (with the assistance of Deon
Haasbroek) but remained inactive for a long time due to time
limitations and financial constraints (and we confess, naïveté).
How can you promote Africa when some of you are
not even there?
Africa still remains true to our hearts
and we miss the thunder storms and smell of the hard Summer
rain steaming off the tar roads. Lets face it, technology does
not restrict us to location. This is a project that sunk its
roots in Africa and was fed by the red soil and quenched by
the summer downpours – there is no stopping it.
One of the most difficult things trying to run it from South
Africa was affording to maintain a website of international
standard. Unfortunately currency exchange does not favour most
Africans and hosting internationally is not affordable to young
people with entry-level salaries no matter how dedicated they
are. Finally we are able to afford international hosting that
will mean transfer speeds for viewers outside of Africa that
sooopakwik (there is a detrimental bottleneck in the pipes in
and out of Africa).
a company? / Can I work for SWIKIRI
/ HOW is SWIKIRI
going to make money?
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. SWIKIRI
a commercial venture and is funded independently by individuals
(two at present) who are silly enough to do it. It has no affiliations
to any company whatsoever. We don’t intend to make money.
We WOULD, however, be eternally grateful to anyone who felt the
goodwill to donate
to help the running of SWIKIRI
. Anything would be greatly appreciated
Hosting, Hardware, Software, Digital Cameras,
ISP services, Printing, T-shirts… you name it, we’ll
take it. ->> click here
to find out how you can help
Who can contribute to SWIKIRI
SWIKIRI has two loose rules about ‘who’
can contribute. Only ONE of these need to be fulfilled:
1. You must be African.
2. You must communicate a message that reflects
Africa in some way
Who qualifies as African? “My great great
Grandmother was born on a (primitive) plane as it made its way
from Argentina to Pakistan, but it was flying over Malawi -
do I qualify as African? (by the way I have a dark complexion
for a Norwegian)”
You are not African. You qualify as African
if you live or have lived in Africa long enough to feel you
are African. If people ask you where you are from and your answer
is not found on the African continent, you are not African.
(Being African has got NOTHING to do with race, religion or
any other categorization of the sort.) However, you may still
contribute if you fit the following criteria:
If I am NOT African but interested in Africa,
can I contribute? / What type of message reflects Africa?
A message that reflects Africa is a message
that contains any form of African culture/society/environment/form/language/experience/creation…etc
in its reference. If you are NOT African and have any interest
in Africa and wish to communicate it in any way, you may contribute
to SWIKIRI. (you have visited and wish to share the experience)
Do I have to use Zebra stripes and African masks
in my designs to make it African?
Definitely not. There are neither constraints
nor stipulations to what ‘African Style’ is. SWIKIRI
encourages the use of African reference but also the innovation
of new and personal character and style.
“You Elitist Bastards! How can you say that you
are promoting African Creativity when computers and the internet
are so inaccessible to people and areas in poverty? Do you think
everybody has a 22” display and a Broadband connection??!
This point can prompt a lot of debate.
Basically we, at SWIKIRI, have certain (limited) resources and
skills which we are using to the best of our ability and in
the best interests of promoting our cause. We do take into account
the limited reach of the internet in Africa and will try to
accommodate as best we can.
An important consideration is the enormous influence the media
and advertising has on society. By encouraging the creative
individuals to divert American/European influence (for example)
and to promote Africa the attitude and education of society
might be influenced too.
For now we are content with promoting dialogue and inspiration
to the people we can reach and hope it will spread like a
“But you said... blah blah blah”
SWIKIRI will strive
to provide a diversified representation of creativity. However,
this will be directly related to who chooses to participate. The
existing members can only contribute according to their own experiences
and resources. Consequently SWIKIRI will most
likely grow organically according to who participates. It can
be anticipated that the majority of contributors will be from
South Africa and mostly be involved with graphic design or new
media (this is the nature of the environment and accessibility).
We will continue to encourage involvement as broadly representative
in Africa and within other fields of communication.