Meg Bartos launched Kanju — which tanslates to “creativity born of struggle” or “making more with less” — in the Dallas Design District. The store features high-end African art and decor, including the recycled glass and copper chandelier pictured.

Meg Bartos knows Africa better than most people. In a typical year, the Hockaday and SMU alum splits her time between Africa and the U.S., visiting tradesmen and artisans that supply Kanju Interiors — her Design District showroom — with myriad treasures carefully crafted by hand. But this is more of a passion project for Bartos, born of a deep love for Africa and its people. 

It’s also a very savvy business, as interest in Africa among start-ups and technology companies grows, so does the demand for people who can navigate the cultural and geographical landscape of the continent. It’s one reason that the Africa Expert Network will host “Africa House” at SXSW this weekend. And the furnishings, artwork, and decor of this technology-driven event? All of it will come from Kanju.

“The tradesmanship — this handiwork and luxury design — wouldn’t have a market without technology,” Bartos pointed out as we sat down for coffee in her showroom, which is full of incredible art and beautiful decor, each piece more intricate and well made than the last. 

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