Leon Engelbrecht is the man behind Unleashed Design, a unique Namibian design house that burst onto the scene and made an impressive mark on the creative industry this year. Leon shares here his learnings and lessons from the past year, his self examination from Africa… his Afrospection.
Q: How would you describe your 2017?
A: Tough, challenging, scariest year yet but turned out to be the most exciting and amazing.
Q: What was something good that came out of 2017?
A: Giving my creative business all the love and attention it deserves and needed by quitting my corporate job end of March this year. WHAT – did I just do that…? **facepalm**
Q: What challenged you in 2017 and how did you overcome this challenge? (
A: Taking my creative business to the next level was surely the most challenging. Being in the manufacturing industry is challenging with lots of goods, supplies and tools that still needs to be imported from SA. Trying to create content and create products that people would be interested in and interested in buying – in Namibia’s tough economic climate currently. People are watching what they spend.
I found that the tourism industry is a very good, stable industry currently that I should focus on more. Believing in oneself is truly key – “you are good enough, you can and will make this work” are phrases and little pep talks you should continually give yourself. Once self belief internalises you are just better set to tackle anything that comes your way.
Q: What was your favourite Art in 2017?
A: Staying on the ‘local is lekker’ vibe I love all the work from local ceramicist and artist, Elke Le Roux.
I didn’t get as much ‘movie time’ in as I would have liked – I think I’ll need to do some serious catching up over the December holiday period… : )
Q: What was your biggest health and wellness learning of 2017?
A: Health is actually everything, without your health you are nothing, and not high on people’s list of priorities. Luckily I get depressed if I don’t exercise and being a proud Crossfitter at the local ‘Crossfit Plus264’ Box, keeps me sane, together with being a great community and support structure. It’s awesome.
Q: What was your biggest personal development learning of 2017?
A: Going on a leather craft course and being taught leather craft using traditional tools and methods – doing everything by hand without the use of any machines, was a life changing experience.
As for the Holidays…
Q: What is your favourite food in December?
A: Eating seafood while seeing and smelling the sea / ocean makes me happy, very happy. And paired with a nice South African dry white wine or glass of MCC that’s shared with friends and family makes me even happier.
Q: What is your favourite Namibian destination?
A: I love all the areas in Namibia, but have the say the lush and life and water rich areas of the country like the Okavango river is just amazing.
Q: What book should we all be reading?
A: Not getting time to read books at the moment, but listening to some cool audiobooks while I’m working in the studio. Mostly self improvement, business orientated as well as to creative industry podcasts.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: Nature, it’s all you need really. And other creative people’s interesting stories, ideas and products.
Q: What is your mantra for life?
A: Smile and the world smiles with you. And not being one for rules or one to conform to society’s rules or guidelines to what is normal or accepted I have always liked the following… ‘Do not go where the path will lead you, instead, go where there is no path and leave a trail.’
Q: What is your wish for the world for 2018?
A: ‘World peace’! Biggest cliche right – hahahaha! No but seriously, for people to realise that you are not so important or special or fantastic as you might think. We are all on borrowed time, and how you use this precious time and treat others that are also just here, on our tiny little planet, for the same short amount of time as you, should actually be quite a big thing. So be kind, embrace people being different than you, help where you can, love deeply and enjoy what life has to give and be grateful for every single day you get to spend on this beautiful planet.
Q: What is your wish for Namibia for 2018?
A: For the policy and decision makers in power that actually have the privilege and ability to make such a big difference in this stunning and awesome country, to do just that. Serve your people and watch this country prosper even more.
Q: What is your wellness goal for 2018?
A: Stay active, stay positive, be awesome!