Arts + Design

Saki Mafundikwa: The designs I love most

Dec 11, 2014

The founder of Zimbabwe’s first graphic arts college shares some teaching resources he loves.

sakimafundikwa_bw-(1)Ten years after writing the book on Africa’s graphic design heritage, Saki Mafundikwa is now at work on a new text — about the long, rich history of African art and innovation (TED Talk: Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets). Mafundikwa draws inspiration from many sources as a teacher, writer and designer. Below, a few he can’t live without:




“This extremely well done video showcases rhythm in Africa through drumming, song and life. I use it to illustrate rhythm in typography and design for my students.”


African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design by Ron Eglash (Rutgers University Press, 2005)

“My dream African design curriculum includes this textbook. It marries mathematics and computing with African architecture, textiles, hairstyling, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork, religion, games, practical craft, quantitative techniques and symbolic systems. The connecting thread? Fractals.”



Patterns that Connect: Social Symbolism in Ancient & Tribal Art by Carl Schuster & Edmund Carpenter (Abrams, 1996)

“This exquisitely illustrated book (1,023 illustrations) could — no, make that should — be adopted everywhere by students of foundation art and design. It’s like a bible of “the other” for someone like me, who believes strongly that there is a place in design schools for the study of indigenous scripts, art and iconography.”


Afrikan Alphabets: The story of writing in Afrika by Saki Mafundikwa (Mark Batty Publisher, 2004)

“My book is out of print (the publisher went of out of business). But the story of writing in Africa is timeless.”

Photo illustrations by Kelly Rakowski for TED.