Embracing “Africa Time”

I read this at Cafe Bloom and it resonated with me. It explains succinctly why so many post-moderns and hipsters are attracted to all things ‘vintage’, and drawn to that which lies outside the ‘mainstream’.

Hipsters making chocolate. #hashtag
Hipsters making chocolate. #hashtag

The term ‘Africa Time’ has been used in jest for years to refer to (and rip off) the relaxed approach to time in Africa – one that prioritises RELATIONSHIP and EXPERIENCE over revenue and productivity. Funny though, how this tradition is becoming a trend the world over as more and more weary Westerners turn ‘back’ to values and wellbeing.

Slow food, Slow design. Slow living.

It usually takes excess to turn us off something. In this case, the overdose is mass-produced perfection and slick consumerism.

Airtight, airbrushed, air-conditioned.

Having traded communities and tradition for corporations and technology in the name of progress and profit, we are now questioning the cost of this exchange and investing again in sustainable wellbeing and meaningful fulfilment.

Wholesome, homemade and authentic are now the valued currencies.

Slow design embraces craft artefacts, vernacular design, and generations of traditional evolution. And this is not the domain of Auntie Bertha and her blue-rinse brigade, but rather of young hip women – and men – seeking traditional skills and a sense of cultural heritage and tradition.

This move aims to meet the real needs of people, space, communities, and the environment. The need for sustainability is giving greater value to timeless design that endures – to antiques, custom-made pieces and hand-carved furniture. Slow design privileges the hand of the maker and celebrates the idiosyncrasies of things IMPERFECT, AGEING and ORGANIC as an antidote to slick stylised perfection.

Slow design… it’s about time.

4 Replies to “Embracing “Africa Time””

  1. Interesting. With the huge pseudo hipster movement going on I haven’t noticed such a change toward the authentic. If anything, I’ve noticed an increase in consumerism in society’s attempt to be counter culture. I wonder if this is a regional thing? Where have you encountered this shift if I might ask?


  2. Reading this post, the thought that comes to my mind is the difference in cultural perspectives. The difference between ‘Doing’ versus ‘Being’. I suppose each has its relevance at different moments and we need to know how to strike the right balance. Would you agree?



  3. So refreshing to read this. I have been troubled for a week by a posting found on the Freshley Pressed area where a blogger was putting down the young people who are moving back home to their parents in the mid-west and choosing to live a slowed down life style rather than joining in the fast paced urban manufacturing life style. He suggested that they were living on welfare. I frankly don’t see it and neither did many of the other responders, but the blogger was adamant about his opinion. I ask what is wrong with a simpler more authentic life, it might be a better world if more people worked in that direction. Thanks for the post.


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