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Chew on pop and design culture at Toffie

The Toffie Pop Culture Festival and Design Conference is back in Cape Town for its second year and promises to give delegates lots to chew on (ok, that was cheap - like the tickets!). The festival/conference hybrid, which takes place at the truly lovely grand dame of Cape Town, the City Hall, Thursday 24 March - Saturday 26 March 2011, offers a mix of workshops, speakers, curated exhibitions, films, boxing matches and parties.
Chew on pop and design culture at Toffie
The venue, in the heart of Cape Town next to the Grand Parade, has been undergoing urgent renovations, and it's inspiring to see the Mother City's creative pulse showcased in one of its most beautiful buildings, as part of our industry's contribution to a larger effort to rejuvenate the city centre.

Relatively accessible to designers

It's also encouraging to see a major design event actually made relatively accessible to designers. Tickets are priced at around R750 for the three-day event, with an extra R250 for specific workshop sessions. Design Indaba is a different beast altogether; its early bird tickets started at R5670 this year and ended at R6930 for on the day registration, by comparison.

The festival part of the event includes boxing matches, a curated exhibition and a club party in City Hall (Saturday 26 March at 9pm) featuring Liver, Dirty Paraffin, Sibot with B-Team and a light performance by Daito Manabe. Delegates and the public may also look forward to the B-LIVE Orchestra performance (Friday 25 March at 8pm, tickets available to public at R150 each) - a collaboration between the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, hip hop artist Tumi Molekane and electro musician Peach van Pletzen.

Exhibitors at Toffie includes Liam Mooney, Angie Batis & Shane Durrant, Porky Hefer, Kobus van der Merwe, Dave Pepler, Cornelia & Adi Badenhorst, Superella, Dokter & Misses, David West, Janet Kinghorn, Brandt Botes, Elle Decoration, Michelle Son, Frauke Stegmann, Marcii Goose, Freddy Sam, Black River FC, Andrew Putter, Barend de Wet, Sangoma & Photon Foundation, KingJames, Pieter Heyneke, Hannes Bernard and Iziko Museums of Cape Town.

The You & Me & Everyone We Know Market, meanwhile, will feature over 30 independent shops. The broader public is also invited to participate in the festival, with access to a market and exhibition area, at a cost of R25 per day (opens Thursday 24 March at 12 noon, Friday and Saturday at 9am). Madrid-based artists Boa Mistura will undertake several projects in Cape Town that will be showcased at Toffie.

International conference speakers

International conference speakers include the Buenos Aires-based creative director of visual studio Flamboyant Paradise and founder of TheUncoolHunter, Javier Lourenco, who will also be presenting a workshop on animation at the conference. Spanish typographer Alex Trochut, alongside his wife Marta, will be presenting a typography workshop on Friday afternoon. Japanese digital artist and programmer Daito Manabe will lead a 'Programming and Design' workshop.

Brecht Vandenbroucke (artist/designer from Belgium), Jürg Lehni (inventor/designer from Switzerland), Jonathan Puckey (graphic designer based in Amsterdam) and Michael Spahr (Norient Musik Film Festival, Switzerland) are all international speakers in attendance.

Local speakers include a variety of designers, musicians and artists, such as graphic design icons Brandt Botes and Frauke Stegmann, artists Andrew Putter and Francis Burger, creative director Conn Bertish and musicians Tumi Molekane and Smiso Zwane.

Finally, be sure to catch a screening of Taqwacore, a film on the birth of the Islamic punk music scene on Thursday evening, as well as We Don't Care About Music Anyway on Tokyo's avant-garde music scene, showing Saturday evening.

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About Herman Manson: @marklives

The inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011, Herman Manson (@marklives) is a business journalist and media commentator who edits industry news site His writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines locally and abroad, including He also co-founded Brand magazine.

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