Makers and Design in South Africa: Technology and Craft Cultures and their Antecedents

Felix Holm, Suné Stassen, Cindy Kohtala, Yana Boeva

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewScientific


Felix Holm is co-founder of the Maker Station makerspace in Cape Town, South Africa, a coordinator of the Cape Town maker movement, and contributor to a pan-Afrikan makerspace founders’ network. Suné Stassen is founding director and custodian of Open Design Afrika (ODA), a festival and activation platform that advocates, demonstrates and educates how design and creativity should be used for social, environmental and economic transformation. Over many years these two organisations have made significant contributions to reposition the roles of design, making, creativity and innovation within the greater ecosystem and helped build a healthier and more prosperous South Africa. Some of these efforts also contributed to Cape Town’s proposal, submitted before the city was eventually crowned as World Design Capital in 2014. Maker Station and Open Design Afrika believe that fostering people’s ability to become more active and responsive global citizens is key to increasing impact, improving more lives and initiating work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a collective effort to design our new preferred futures. Their efforts bring to light contributions to DIY making and hacking and alternative histories less addressed in academic research. Felix (FH) and Suné (SS) spoke to Cindy Kohtala (CK) and Yana Boeva (YB) about their passions and the recent histories of South African DIY making over video-conference, mere days before South Africa went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for this issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-152
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Culture & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine


  • maker culture
  • makerspaces
  • fab lab
  • history of technology
  • design history
  • craft
  • Design
  • Open Design
  • interview


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