Do we need another north?

The South African design expo Design Indaba makes the claim that global ascendency has passed to the other half of the world:

Stand back Milan, London and New York, here comes SOUTH! SOUTH is an inversion of hand-me-down Eurocentric creativity, a world map turned upside down conceptually, so that South Africa is on top. Over the past few years Design Indaba has witnessed the organic emergence of a new creative ethos. With South Africa’s diverse, rich heritage as source material, and inspired by the rebirth of the South African nation, definitions that move beyond ethnicity, religion, race or language have emerged.

This marketing campaign is useful for raising some important questions about the idea of South:

  • If North and South are competitors, what is the game in which they are participating?
  • Is there a way that South can provide not only a new slumdog competitor in the global fame game, can it also help craft some new rules?
  • What rules might these be?
  • Why shouldn’t a poor country like South Africa have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of global glory?
  • If South Africa benefits from this inversion of value, what about other countries who share this part of the world, like Madagascar, Australia, Fiji and Argentina?

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