Ubuntu Vision - Ballo x United Nations collaboration

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ballo is proud to present ‘Enkosi’, a limited-edition range of sunglasses made in collaboration with the United Nations General Assembly (UN). Meaning ‘thank you’ in Xhosa, the Enkosi range was custom designed to commemorate the 10th December 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – an international document declaring that all human rights are universal, and should be enjoyed by all people, no matter who they are or where they live – was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
‘Seventy five years later, there has never been a more important time to heed these 30 rights and freedoms,’ says Alistair Barnes, the founder and creative director of Ballo Sunglasses, whose range of handmade sunglasses prioritise the creation of employment, the reuse of cork waste from the wine industry and the principle of planet before profit. How a small, sustainable ethical eyewear brand based in Cape Town got to collaborate with the world’s largest NGO is a lesson in the power of seeing things differently. And a surprise and honour for Alistair and his team.
‘Earlier this year I received an email requesting a meeting to explore a potential collaboration between the United Nations and Ballo Sunglasses,’ explains Alistair with a laugh. ‘I could hardly believe my eyes.’ Nor the serendipity with which the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stumbled across the brand. The story goes that in a brainstorming session on how to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the team had come up with a theme called ‘Ubuntu Vision’. A cartoonist who assists in their brainstorming efforts drew a sunglass frame covered in patterns with people dancing in the lenses. And it was then that someone on the team said: ‘Those look like Ballo sunglasses’. The rest is history.
Celebrating a milestone of their own in that the business is a decade old this year, Alistair and his team then set about developing a custom pattern inspired by Ndebele art and produced 220 pairs of the ‘Enkosi’ sunglasses to be given away by the UN at various celebratory events and functions. The frames are also for sale on their website in the hopes that the range will become an iconic reminder and celebration of one of the most important documents ever created in human history.  
The Enkosi sunglasses are available in a range of styles and retail from R1,580.

Written by: Kerryn Fischer
Photo credits: Photography by Katinka Bester
Models: Jahnavi Sharma Swart and Shakes Mbolekwana
Product and styling: Alistair Barnes, Ballo

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