Ravi Naidoo is a scientist by training with a degree in physiology and a Masters degree in Business Administration. In the wake of the collapse of apartheid, he set about the mission to educate the world about the potential of the new South Africa and to educate South Africans by attracting the world’s leading designers in every field to celebrate and engage in design projects in South Africa. He founded Design Indaba in 1995 – an Annual International Design Conference, now incorporating Design Indaba Expo – to attract leading lights from the global design world to South Africa. He has not only imported great ideas but has brought international attention to some outstanding South African talent.
He is the Founder and Managing Director of Interactive Africa, a Cape Town based company that combines logistic prowess and creative production to work on projects that promote South Africa. Since 1994 Interactive Africa, led by Ravi Naidoo, has managed a variety of high profile projects including the First African in Space Mission and the African Connection Rally, promoting telecommunications and investment in the whole of Africa. He was also the catalyst behind Woolworths and Western Cape Government of Education creating a design syllabus at the school level.
Malcolm Garrett, Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and their representative on the Awards Committee said this of Ravi:
“Ravi Naidoo lost no time in rising to the opportunities and challenges presented by the abolition of apartheid in South Africa, and for twenty years has been realising a vision to harness the power of design and creativity to drive change and improve the quality of life for his country. He saw the possibility of creating an economic revolution, one intrinsically tied to the story of South Africa. His was no narrow vision but one which through global sharing of design talent would enhance the economies and therefore the lives of people everywhere.”
Ravi Naidoo was born in 1964. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Physiology from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and in 1994 he completed a Masters of Business Administration Degree at UCT, where he was nominated the Nedbank MBA Student of the Year. He has served on international design juries and panels and his work has been recognised with awards both in South Africa and throughout the world.