Thembelani Frames

Co-design and enterprise development for a unique township-based picture framing business in Cape Town, South Africa.

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 Working with Thembelani, a picture framer in the Langa Township of Cape Town, we ran a series of workshops intended to identify and draw out the real value of his business and help provide a sustainable strategy for future growth.   Through these sessions we facilitated Thembelani in formalising his personal narrative and developed a methodology to weave his story into the frames he makes, as well as to better represent the value of what he does. This ability to communicate clearly about his business was crucial given the contrasting worlds of the township workshop and city galleries he straddles.

Working with Thembelani, a picture framer in the Langa Township of Cape Town, we ran a series of workshops intended to identify and draw out the real value of his business and help provide a sustainable strategy for future growth. 

Through these sessions we facilitated Thembelani in formalising his personal narrative and developed a methodology to weave his story into the frames he makes, as well as to better represent the value of what he does. This ability to communicate clearly about his business was crucial given the contrasting worlds of the township workshop and city galleries he straddles.

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 These steps enabled him to diversify his income streams by providing uniquely Thembelani Frames alongside the purely technical service he already offered. Most importantly it provided him with the tools to educate his local community about the importance of art, something he felt passionately about.  As part of the co-design process we manufactured prototype tools and frames alongside Thembelani. In these objects we embedded the personal narrative we had visualised in earlier workshops and attempted to better represent the value of his crafted framing by letting the frames tell the story of their creation.

These steps enabled him to diversify his income streams by providing uniquely Thembelani Frames alongside the purely technical service he already offered. Most importantly it provided him with the tools to educate his local community about the importance of art, something he felt passionately about.

As part of the co-design process we manufactured prototype tools and frames alongside Thembelani. In these objects we embedded the personal narrative we had visualised in earlier workshops and attempted to better represent the value of his crafted framing by letting the frames tell the story of their creation.

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