Saki Mafundikwa

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A graphic designer, typographer and design educator, Saki was born and raised in Zimbabwe. In 1979, he went to Indiana University to study Fine Arts and Telecommunications. He then graduated at Yale University with an MFA in Graphic Design in 1985. It was there that he discovered the existence of sub-Saharan scripts and alphabets designed by Afrikans themselves – without the influence of the Roman or Arabic alphabets. This became his Master’s thesis, developed into a life-long passion and, after more research, almost twenty years later has turned into the book Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika.
He worked as a designer and Art Director in New York from 1985 through 1997 when he decided to return home to found his country’s first Graphic Design and New Media college, the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA). Saki Mafundikwa has participated in exhibitions and workshops in Europe and USA and written numerous essays and articles on design for publications around the world. He has also travelled widely in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Afrika lecturing about his ideas for the globalization of design and design education.

Humanity has been making symbols for communication since the dawn of time and these keep evolving and getting more and more complex mirroring our development. Language is the primer for typography and there is not a sound that has been created for which there is no graphic equivalence. Take the logo for this conference for instance, it is a thing of beauty exhibiting an organic elegance found in ethnic typography and high tech sass at the same time. It successfully straddles two worlds. That is a goal I wish to achieve with my work, and if not, then at least pass it on to my students.

Read the interview with Saki Mafundikwa (in english): Design as freedom

26 mar 2008


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