Where Afro meets Digital

This is FABRIC A showcase of how the underlying data of an African city can help transform them into the smart cities of the future. Demonstrated by using data to design unique fabrics for each city, then designing garments from those fabrics.

Cities Need to Get Smarter

By 2050, 1.4 billion people will be living in an African city. In Nigeria alone, 212 million people will have moved to a city. African cities need to swiftly evolve to become smarter, by embracing the power of intelligent technology to create solutions for rapid population and economic growth.
Data will enable smart decision-making, help us connect the dots and ensure that past failures do not repeat itself.
CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall'Omo.

Explore the data patterns of Luanda

This FABRIC contains the data patterns of Luanda, capital city in Angola.  Luanda is Angola’s primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban centre.  It is home to more than 2.5 million people. Through local understanding and digital ingenuity, we can use this data visualization to understand the challenges that the community faces.  We then work towards solutions to make the city smarter and more efficient for the people of Luanda to unlock their potential.

FABRIC Pretoria

City of Tshwane

This piece of FABRIC depicts data collated from the City of Tshwane.

City of Cape Town

The brightly weaved fabric – inspired by Bo Kaap – outlines various infrastructure points of the city and its underlying data. Some of the points include buildings, marine traffic, railway congestion, zoning, waste-water plants, postal routes, trees, borders, pipelines and the ocean.

Siemens’ historic relationship with the city goes back many decades to 1860, when it developed the first telegraph line between Cape Town and Simonstown. But it didn’t end there. In 1892, Siemens constructed the first public power station (Molteno Dam) and in 1927, it electrified the Table Mountain cableway. In 1988, the multinational was the electrical and mechanical subcontractor for the construction of the Hugenot Tunnel and in 2007, Siemens commissioned the first new power stations in democratic South Africa (Ankerlig and Gourikwa). In 2010, the first hybrid laboratory was constructed by Siemens at the Cape Gate Mediclinic and five years later it completed the Sere Wind farm.


Cape Town was named Africa’s leading digital city, with its economic centre contributing nearly three-quarters of GDP in the Western Cape, and nearly R5 billion in foreign direct investment. More than half of emerging tech companies in South Africa are based in the Western Cape, with most of them stationed in Cape Town.

The Alexandra Series

Siemens embarked on a data visualization project in Alexandra to see what could be learnt about the “DNA” of the township, but also how this information could be better used to improve living conditions for the Alexandra Community. The Alexandra data revealed that the area, which was initially meant for 75 000 people, is now occupied by approximately 500 000 people, making it extremely congested.


Using the data visualizations Siemens was able to see and understand the township and the challenges it faces. Siemens tapped into its digital resources to consolidate this data and used the visualization to create layered patterns of the community which were then printed onto South African woven fabric. The result; a vivid visual representation of the community of Alexandra told through its data attributes.

Siemens then identified a women owned business, Legae Larona Sewing Cooperative in Alex, who then used this FABRIC to create great South African products, Legae Larona now forms part of the Siemens Enterprise Development programme.



of water per day.

0 %

of new commercial properties are being built in Sandton.

0 KM

of new power lines to be built in the next 7 years.



vehicle commuters every day.

0 MW

of power is supplied to Lagos.

20,000,00 GAL

of water is supplied per day.



pass through an average  Nairobi Bus Station every 12 hours.


of cargo goes through Jomo Kenyatta Airport a month, on average.

32000 PEOPLE

per Square KM population density in Nairobi's Industrial Area.


Data to FABRIC

The underlying data patterns of African cities were collected and overlaid over the actual topography of the city. Once the fabric designs were selected, the next stage of the process began. The fabrics were then composited and printed, further surface details were added along with laser cutting for specific designs.

Making the Patterns

The data layers that make up the patterns include information on traffic flows, water delivery, electrical grids, maps, cellular networks and population density. Siemens expertise was able to extract patterns from those data layers to produce stunning patterns that were as beautiful as they were informative. 

These patterns illustrate how important electrical grids are to the function of a city. Siemens’ expertise allows us to provide cities, industries and commercial buildings with distributed energy systems that are resilient, efficient & above all -intelligent

Find out how we enable local energy supply

Find out how we enable local energy supply

City Data Layers

Every African city has a unique story, created by the lives of its citizens, told by their movements and expressed through patterns.  
It’s like I am only truly experiencing Johannesburg right now. I see Jo'burg as more dynamic, with hidden opportunities underneath highways, pipes and houses.
Palesa Mokubung, South African designer.

News and Media

The latest news on Siemens, Fabric and Africa.

Siemens Thought Leaders weigh in on urbanization and African cities.