The African Marketplace Pitch illustration
When I first read the brief for this I was on the first day of a road trip down to Cape Town. We were taking it slow, winding through the Karoo and taking a couple days to get there. I didn’t start drawing for a long time. Instead, I chose to experience the trip as best I could, paying attention to all the details the country has to offer. I then spent a couple weeks in Cape Town, where I use to live. So I had encountered three very different terrains of South Africa within a couple weeks. Pretoria, the Karoo, and Cape Town. I thought about all the different venders, creators, entrepreneurs and brilliant minds I met along the way. A little girl sold me fresh cookies at a small artists café in the Karoo, the small gin maker and brewer in Phillippolis who does it all without electricity, the florist on Greenmarket and the artisanal oat milk ice-cream shop that just opened upon Kloof. I eat ramen at this new place in town, they tell me it’s the best and you can’t reserve a table. I have a chip roll from the family run business in Woodstock, the kind owner always gave me extra mayo. I think of the desert of Karoo, and the stories I was told of how people use to make needles from the thorns of the Kameeldoring. No matter how hard I try, I could never figure out how they did it. I think about how, like the Karoo, like the Kameeldoring and the tannie who sells Bajies at a corner store – we are all so resilient. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I come from a place of extreme privilege. But if I look at the artists at Zeits, the artisanal bakers and the craftsmen in Kalk Bay, I just know that there is a resilience, a drive within them. 

The African marketplace is vibrant, not just because of the goods and services we create, but because of the creativity and passion of the African people. When you look at this illustration, you see the innovations of this country. You’ll notice the luxury of the Gautrain, the Joburg skyline and the flower markets. But I also want you to notice the hawkers, the Gatsby sellers, the braai, the ice cream seller – these people also make up the vibrant African market place. These people bring the joy to the everyday person, inviting them and welcoming everybody. Another detail that was important to me was the guitar player to the right. Music draws us together and we all gather and mingle around it. My heart belongs to the Joburg and Pretoria music scene and every day I am grateful for the people who put their all into the industry. Finally, you’ll notice there are three different “scenes” for this illustration. They all show a person being welcomed – coming through a doorway where everything becomes colourful, getting off a train or opening a window. The vibrant African marketplace is here, and its hybrid, eclectic, and beautiful.
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