With life moving faster and faster, and the majority of the items we buy today being mass produced, machine-made products, there’s a growing movement that’s pushing in the other direction – for handmade, artisanal items that reflect the care and skills used to make them – skills possessed by men and women used to making traditional clay pots, beaded love letters and woven African baskets. But while these people have the crafting skills, the majority lack business acumen, and are also unaware of how to go about updating the beer pots and woven grass mats that they make so that they appeal to a more modern market, a market that can pay more for their wares, and help to create sustainable employment.
The Africa Craft Trust (ACT) is an NPO that focuses on product development, assisting crafters with gaining access to new markets, and building crafters’ business skills though customised training programmes. They have been in operation for close to twenty years, and have worked with nearly ten thousand crafters, producing an income in the region of R30 million.
With unemployment rates in South Africa staggeringly high, it’s organisations like the Africa Craft Trust that have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of our people. A massive thank you and congratulations to the ACT and its team of dedicated trustees for the amazing work that they do.