Supporting rural development through crafts
Mark Twain says that the secret to getting ahead is getting started. This was our year of getting started, the year that African Mamas Crafts was birthed. Having kick-started the process by taking care of the necessary registration paperwork, we embarked on a journey to find rural crafters to work with. What a journey it was as we travelled 3 of the most beautiful, yet economically challenged provinces in South Africa – Eastern Cape, Kwazulu Natal and Limpopo. We had amazing responses from the crafters we wanted to work with as we shared our vision of collaborating with them to strengthen and build more sustainable rural communities. Click here to read about our vision, mission and values.
One of the areas we visited was the beautiful village of Tugela Ferry in Msinga Municipality, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
Stories from Home
As a result of the collaboration we decided to include \”Stories From Home\” on our website and share snippets of their lives and how some of the groups came about. On our first article we share about Mathawu Pottery, who are based in the O.R Tambo District along the Wild Coast section of the Eastern Cape. Click here to read their story and order online their iconic Zebra Vase Collection or other items in their product range.
Finding inspiration from nature – the Zebra Vase Collection (Small, Tall & Oblong) by Mathawu Pottery, O.R Tambo District Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Access to Markets
Besides having our products available online, doors have opened for us to exhibit at various markets. Our first opportunity was at the His Biz Open Day event, hosted by His People in Rosebank. Our beaded rose petal rings were a big hit at the event. Lisa and Ntsiki showed us how its done with their royal blue and burgundy rings below. The attraction to the rings is not only the variety of colours available, but also the glass beads used, meaning there is no allergic reaction to metal.
Next we were invited by the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network(SAWEN) to be part of the Arts & Craft exhibition in Macufe, Bloemfontein. The arts festival tied in with the Free State Global Investment Trade Bridge which was opened by the Honourable Free State Premier Ace Magashule. Our ball and loop necklace collection was well-received and Zuki from East London (below) feel in love with the cranberry pink necklace which matched her dress and beautifully completed her look.
However, what has been exciting is not just attending once-off markets – though these have been good, but having access to sustainable markets. For us, this is where the Neighbourgoods Market in Juta Street, Braamfontein has come in handy. It has been our home market and trading location for the past 3 months. It has an excellent variety of tantalising food and craft/design vendors and attracts people from all walks of life. Be sure to pop in when you\’re in town and experience the vibrant Jo\’burg energy. Our top sellers at the market have definitely been our handcrafted jewellery, which is available in traditional and contemporary design. Click here to view the entire collection.
Christmas time means time for Christmas markets and we were excited!! Actually to be honest, we were more nervous than excited as we would be exhibiting at the Kamers Christmas Market in Irene, Pretoria for the 1st time. For those in the know, this is said to be the epitome of excellence in craft design in the country. This year the exhibition hosted over 140 local crafters and designers over 6 days. The quality and excellence demanded ensured that the market is a melting pot of talent, passion and creativity. It was great to not only exhibit there, but to interact with other entrepreneurs and hear stories of their business journeys. It was by far our best exhibition for the year – if you missed it, be sure to catch us again at Kamers next year.
A sincere and heartfelt thanks to all that helped make 2015 our great start-up year!! We had not in our wildest dreams imagined that we would get this much done in 1 year. To echo again the words of Mark Twain – the secret to getting ahead is getting started.
Catch us at the Neighbourgoods Market this Saturday the 19th December 9am – 3pm for the last of our Christmas bestsellers. These include our beaded Christmas decoration balls and woven picnic baskets. Cheers to an African Christmas! This is our last Saturday market for the year, we reopen again on the 16th January 2016.
73 Juta Street
GPS: -26.194263 28.034921
Till next year,
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year for 2016!!
Goodbye, Salani Kahle & Totsiens,
Founder & Director
African Mamas Crafts