Behind the Scenes | Our Festive Season

The holidays are almost here, and you’ll know this because our festive decorations are going up! We love our festive decorations. We really do! But where’s the fun in that when after it’s all over and done, we’ve created new waste that the environment doesn’t need? Inspired by a vision to spread holiday cheer which is more sustainable and local, we have reimagined the festive season this year. We’ve reused, repurposed, reskinned and recycled to create breath-taking handcrafted installations that tell our continent’s story and share a special kind of joy… from Africa to the world.

Reducing, reusing, recycling and reimagining
This festive season, we continue our journey of sustainability. Our commitment to protecting our environment as well as our love for this continent and its talented people are the reasons that led to us relooking how we approach our decorations. This year, we have sourced and produced locally, as well as repurposed old decorations and waste material (like paper sourced from the V&A’s Waste Recovery Plant and plastic bottles collected across Cape Town) by transforming it into enchanting installations.

Africa, our time is now

We have partnered with local crafters and makers to help us turn our dream into a magical reality. Each piece of festive décor you’ll discover at the V&A over the holidays has been carefully and lovingly crafted by the hands of the people of South Africa and the African continent. It comes as no surprise that we are excited to support and showcase all things local. So, you can expect our decorations to shine a little brighter and things to look a little more like home this season.


Discover festive magic in our neighbourhood

  • Using recycled paper from the V&A Waterfront head office and scratched plastic baubles from previous Christmases for the substructure, Wola Nani gave us a new South African take on a traditional Christmas bauble.
  • The birds of peace flying through the mall represent our connection to each other and celebrate our visitors who have come from all over the world to enjoy this festive time at the V&A Waterfront. The flying birds are made from recycled metal by Joburg-based Zimbabwean artist Claude Mutanho of Amatuli.
  • Hand-painted papier-mâché standing birds have been created by husband and wife team, Themba and Nombulelo Masala, using recycled paper, wood and Kalahari sand.
  • The Deconstructed Pendant lights by Thabisa Mjo, (winner of The Most Beautiful Object in South Africa and joint winner of 100% Design South Africa Designer of the Year 2019) will be hung in the Victoria Wharf Mall.
  • There will be decorative basket installations across the precinct which celebrate our creative communities across the continent. Baskets have been sourced from:
    • The Alpha Group, founded by sisters Alpha and Norah Sibiya, who work with a team of women to create gorgeous baskets that showcase traditional craft
    • The Dunoon Urban Weavers, a unique project in the Western Cape set up to encourage traditional Xhosa weaving in an urban area
    • Jambo, a South African wholesaler that supplies quality handcrafted items and curios, in partnership with traditional craftsmen, women and rural workshops
  • Sindiso Khumalo is one of South Africa’s leading textile and fashion designers whose uniquely colourful visual style draws upon her Zulu and Ndebele heritage and passion for Sindiso has designed the exterior of the Summer Palace at the Victoria Wharf centre court. The Summer Palace is home to Mother Earth and the Guardian of Joy.
  • The 59 beaded creatures adorning the Summer Palace were created by Monkeybiz, an economic upliftment project dedicated to reviving the traditional craft of African beadwork and empowering women to become financially independent.
  • Ronel Jordaan and her close-knit team of women are responsible for the felt planets and trees. Ronel has a signature process behind her felt, which is created through patient hand friction and the rubbing of wet wool.
  • Africa Nova created the Summer Palace beaded thrones. For the last 20 years, Africa Nova has brought customers the best of African craft, art and design from across the continent.
  • Founded by artist and designer Heath Nash, Our Workshop is a free, shared space in Langa where young people get together to explore their creative side. They have upcycled plastic bottles to create an imaginative installation which you can find at the Watershed.
  • Platform Creative Agency was responsible for bringing the V&A Waterfront’s vision of an authentic, local Festive Season to life. They specialise in commercial and cultural curation in Africa, designing and creating immersive experiences and spaces.