Woza Moya’s magnificent Dreams of Africa Chair – which was voted the Most Beautiful Object at the Design Indaba 2011 – has found the perfect new home, as pride of place in the reception of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation in Cape Town.
In 2010 a damaged old chair was taken out of a skip, renovated and given an astonishing second chance by the crafters at Woza Moya, in the heart of 1000 Hills . The chair was embellished and beaded. Every participating beader took her turn and made her individual creative mark on the chair and incorporated their dreams and hopes for themselves and South Africa. The end result was a breathtaking eclectic one of a kind functional masterpiece.
But that was only the start of the journey. The Dream Chair, as it became known, became a superstar. It travelled South Africa, and went to New York twice, as well as to Holland and Germany, meeting a range of fabulous people – all of whom were invited to sit in the chair and dream. Gogos and celebrities; ordinary people and sports stars; politicians and children; fashion designers and global leaders took their turn in the chair.
To record the dreams and images, a coffee table book was created. Acclaimed photographer Matthew Willman took most of the pictures and managed the publishing, and Peter Upfold helped initiate the project. Other people who came on board included Dominic Ronzo (New York pictures), Claudia Krumhoff (co-ordination) and the Woza Moya staff. The book was published with funding from Lotto.
“The book documents the chair’ travels around South Africa and the world, collecting dreams from ordinary, and famous people alike. The chair became a symbol of hope and encouraged people to think about the future and dared them to dream,” explained Paula Thomson, Woza Moya executive manager,
The dream chair was eventually sold for R950 000 to a private buyer, and the money raised was used to build the Woza Moya Craft Shop in Hillcrest, in 1000 Hills, which opened in December 2017.
The Dream Chair has embarked on an exciting new chapter. It has been donated to the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, by Berdine Neethling where it is shown to its best advantage in the entrance foyer as it welcomes visitors to their Zonnebloem, Cape Town office.
Paula Thomson is donating a photograph of Bishop Tutu sitting on the chair, and a copy of the Dream Chair book to the Foundation, where they will be on display with the chair.
Prisoner of Hope
“The Dreams of Africa Chair has pride of place in our reception area, reminding all of us of the power of hope and imagination in the face of adversity. The Arch described himself as a ‘prisoner of hope’, and the Dreams of Africa Chair is a profound metaphor for his values and legacy,” explained the Foundation’s CEO, Janet Jobson. She continues, “As we work to take the Arch and Mrs Tutu’s legacy into the future, through nurturing the courage to heal in society, we can draw on the inspiration of the lives, stories, and extraordinary talent of the Woza Moya beaders, and the journey of the Dreams of Africa Chair, inspiring people around the world!”
Good to Know
Woza Moya is a member of 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisaiton.
There are still copies of the Dream of Africa coffee table book – available online or at the Woza Moya shop.
Normal Retail price is R200. It is on special for R150 currently.
Woza Moya is open Weekdays: 8am – 4pm
At Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust 26 Old Main Road Hillcrest
& 9am -5pm Woza Moya Windermere Centre
Saturdays: 8am – 2pm HACT and 9am -2pm Windermere Centre
Tel: +27 31 765 5866