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Professor Saki Mafundikwa: A Maestro of African Design and Education

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Professor Saki Mafundikwa: A Maestro of African Design and Education

In the colorful tapestry of the global design community, few figures shine as brightly as Professor Saki Mafundikwa. Hailing from Zimbabwe, Mafundikwa has not only left an indelible mark on the world of visual communication but has also been a relentless champion for African design heritage and education.

By Plot Mhako

Mafundikwa’s journey is one of unwavering dedication to his craft and a deep-rooted passion for his homeland’s cultural richness. Trained in the United States, he brought back to Zimbabwe a wealth of knowledge and a fervent belief in the transformative power of design. In 1997, he founded the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA), a groundbreaking institution that became a nurturing ground for budding designers and a beacon of hope for the local creative community.

“At the heart of Mafundikwa’s work lies a profound appreciation for African aesthetics and storytelling traditions. Through his design practice, he seamlessly weaves together elements of heritage and modernity, creating visuals that are not only striking but also deeply resonant with the continent’s diverse cultures.”

As an educator, Mafundikwa’s influence extends far beyond the walls of the classroom. His mentorship has inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in design, instilling in them a sense of pride in their African identity and a commitment to excellence. Through his teachings and writings, including the acclaimed “Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika,” Mafundikwa has helped reclaim the narrative of African design history, challenging Western-centric perspectives and celebrating the continent’s rich typographic traditions.

But perhaps Mafundikwa’s greatest legacy lies in his belief in the power of design to effect positive change in society. For him, design is not merely about creating beautiful objects but about addressing real-world challenges and shaping a better future for all. His tireless advocacy for design education and his relentless pursuit of excellence serve as an inspiration to designers everywhere, reminding us of the profound impact that creativity can have on the world.

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“Afrikan alphabets can bring out the beauty of type. Some of the writing systems are so intrinsically beautiful that one cannot ignore this and so whatever work they will produce, it will by extension contain the same beauty.” – Saki Mafundikwa

As we reflect on the remarkable career of Professor Saki Mafundikwa, let us celebrate not only his achievements but also his enduring commitment to Africa’s design heritage and the next generation of creative minds. In a world that often overlooks the contributions of African designers, Mafundikwa’s work stands as a testament to the boundless talent and creativity that abound on the continent.

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Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.


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