Africa Textile Talks 2023: Presenting Africa’s sustainable and circular textile future 

Winter Wool Festival in Middelburg, Eastern Cape 24-26 June 2022. Shot for Twyg by Samantha Reinders
Winter Wool Festival in Middelburg, Eastern Cape 24-26 June 2022. Shot for Twyg by Samantha Reinders

The global textile industry has become one of the most socially and environmentally harmful industries. Challenging these impacts begins with sharing ideas and inspiration for sustainable material worlds. 

Taking place on 17 August at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, the third edition of Africa Textile Talks, hosted by Twyg and Imiloa Collective, promises a full day of connecting and learning about sustainability and circularity in textile, fashion, and design systems from across the continent. 

The first-of-its-kind annual event aims to celebrate and support a growing African textile ecosystem that acts with care for people and the planet. This year, the focus of Africa Textile Talks is to inspire new practices which are rooted in the past, informed by the present, and look to the future.

Guided by emcee Thobile Chittenden, CEO of Makers Valley and network co-lead of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, the day will be filled with insightful talks, presentations, exhibits, and demonstrations that will bring together sustainable growers, makers, designers, creatives, industry experts, retailers, and innovators.

The expansive programme of talks will address some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the future of sustainable textile ecosystems in Africa. This includes addressing the reality of waste colonialism with a keynote address from pioneering Ghanaian organisation The Or Foundation about the need for a new justice-led and circular textile economy, based on their research and work supporting circular textile solutions in one of the biggest secondhand markets in the world, the Kantamanto Market in Accra. 

Looking to the future, the talks also demand that we delve into the past to engage with the overlaps between textile worlds, memory, and history. This will be addressed in a talk by Kenyan creative director and cultural producer, Sunny Dolat, who is the co-founder of The Nest Collective, a multidisciplinary collective living and working in Nairobi, Kenya. His talk will walk us through how we can connect the dots between the stories that lie below the surface of the fabric of our lives, and how they can shape the future.

Also journeying down from Kenya, after being recognised as one of 10 winners of the H&M Foundation’s 2023 Global Change Award, is Rethread Africa – a start-up that is developing innovative ways to turn waste from farms into future-fit fabrics. 

From Nigeria, Muktar Dodo will be presenting the Global Organic Textile Standard. Design guru Bielle Bellingham will engage with textile artists, and designers Frances van Hasselt, Tinyiko Makwakwa and Lezanne Viviers about their innovative use of natural dyes and natural fibres.

Armed with new ideas, practical ways forward, and invaluable industry connections, this event promises to be a blueprint for positive action for curious citizens, caring creatives, and change-making industry insiders alike. 

The day will run from 09:00-19:30 and include a light lunch, snacks, and an evening social mixer event. Tickets cost R400 per person and are available via Quicket

View the full programme here.

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