Africa’s Travel Indaba teams up with local street art talent in Durban

From the hieroglyphics in Egypt to the cave paintings in Maropeng, art has always been a vehicle for documenting history and telling our stories. Art is an interpretation of life and takes many different forms, such as music, paintings, graffiti, writing and dance.

South African Tourism (SA Tourism) has partnered with four acclaimed Durban artists to paint a 22m wall mural inside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) that will be unveiled during Africa’s Travel Indaba, which takes place from May 2-4 2019. This is part of a legacy project that SA Tourism would like to showcase as the hosts of Africa’s Travel Indaba.

“We know that travellers from all over the world are keen to learn about the history and culture of any destination they visit. This wall mural is the creative expression of our culture and beautiful landscapes. It is also a celebration of South Africa’s talent,” says Sthembiso Dlamini, acting chief executive at South African Tourism.

The wall mural is a representation of KwaZulu-Natal’s lifestyle, showcasing the culture in the region, from the world-famous beaches to showcasing landmarks that have played a part in promoting the region, such as Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was built for the 2010 Fifa World Cup and continues to be a venue where a lot of cultural and significant events are hosted.

The artists painting the mural are Samora Chapman, Fiya One, Mook Lion and Sphephelo Mnguni. “This mural we are painting is a celebration of Durban as a beautiful destination with vibrant people from many different cultures. The art piece will have a street art aesthetic that is very engaging and exciting for people to look at. We want to tell this story through the mural and give life to a place that we love by showcasing the Durban beachfront; a lot of different people coexist there and share that space,” says Chapman.

Dlamini says: “Africa has a rich vibrant history of story-telling and culture narration. The 2019 Africa’s Travel Indaba presents an opportunity for us to tell the world of Africa’s successes, to change the narrative and stereotype of Africa into a positive one.”

The wall mural will be unveiled on May 2 at the ICC and is intended to be a catalyst for starting more conversations on the importance of storytelling through the arts.

About the artists

Samora Chapman is a content specialist with skills in writing, photography, filmmaking and street art. He is a freelancer based in Durban, South Africa. Chapman has been documenting the city of Durban for 10 years, becoming immersed in many different scenes, telling stories of hope and struggle alike. Find out more about Chapman here: www.authorsamora.co.za

Hailing from the east coast of South Africa and currently operating out of Johannesburg, Fiya One is a multi-disciplinary artist who produces large-scale powerful murals and graffiti pieces. His style has evolved over the years, from traditional graffiti to op art (a style of art that uses optical illusions), and more recently, he has been exploring a surrealist aesthetic. “My work is influenced by my surroundings and the post-modern age,” he says of his subject matter. “I’m also interested in forms that evoke a physical response optically, rather an emotive response.”

Mook Lion is a Durban street art pioneer; his style is wild, childlike and expressive. Lion recently completed his Masters in Fine Art at the Durban University of Technology, investigating street art and mural art as examples of social activism, using Durban as a case study. His study was practice-led, with the aim of producing site-specific and socially conscious artwork in the public domain.

Sphephelo Mnguni is one of Durban’s most talented young painters and multimedia artists. His portraits are unique and powerful, capturing a nuanced vision of his subjects, who are often people from the local creative scene. He studied a B.Tech in Fine Art at the Durban University of Technology, graduating in 2017, and has been pursuing a career as a full-time artist ever since. He’s exhibited at the KZNSA and the Other Room Gallery and worked on a number of major murals across the city, particularly in collaboration with fellow artist Lion.

Investing in tech will ensure survival

When Tourvest first exhibited at Africa’s Travel Indaba in 1988, there were just 27 exhibitors and 40 buyers.

Today, Africa’s Travel Indaba attracts more than 1 000 exhibitors and 1 500 buyers, and our aims for being at the event have changed. Last year more than 48 000 meetings were scheduled between buyers and exhibitors, with 20 000 new business leads created. This is mainly thanks to modern communications and technology, which has changed the face of the tourism industry. No potential customer waits for trade shows. What matters nowadays is brand positioning and brand equity, both of which require the latest technological and digital assets to get it right.

Tourvest, which is the biggest integrated destination management group in the southern hemisphere, is investing R30-million in technology development in a bid to become bigger, better and faster. We understand that the industry has become more about marketing and utilising the right digital channels. Those companies that can adopt, understand and adapt will survive.

Driving many of these trends is the millennial generation, now in their twenties and thirties, who are tech-savvy and are comfortable with using digital resources to facilitate their travel plans. Globally, up to 45% of all travellers are using their mobile devices to do this, so it is clear that technology in the tourism industry is not just a trend but is here to stay.

At Meetings Africa 2019, South African Tourism chief executive Sisa Ntshona emphasised the importance of the tourism industry adjusting to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to remain globally competitive. He called for the industry to embrace and become early adopters of beneficial new technologies.

From a macro perspective, 4IR presents South Africa with the opportunity to create and disseminate more commodities to international markets, which, in turn, may attract more tourists to South Africa. Success will come to the companies that understand their customers and which have the lowest cost distributor for commodities.

Despite all the talk of adopting new tech, a platform such as Africa’s Travel Indaba still presents tourism stakeholders with valuable face-to-face time.

Tourvest is attending its 31st Indaba and is investing R5-million into the exhibition. We will bring along around 120 staff members, including junior employees, as part of their training and team building. With all these resources invested in the exhibit, being at Indaba 2019 still cannot be measured in monetary terms.

Its true value is in starting new relationships and building on existing ones, which exceed the tangible cost benefit. It is an opportunity to engage with colleagues within the industry, clients, media and others who are passionate about tourism.

To learn more about South African Tourism, visit: www.southafrica.net

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