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South African Trade Crafts

As you make your way around the beautiful and diverse country of South Africa, you may well discover that a number of craftsmen have set up shop on the roadside in both rural and urban areas. While this practise is not generally endorsed by the local municipalities, it certainly cannot be discouraged as it is, for many, their only means of making a living. You will find a number of creative crafts and artworks just waiting for sale as the crafter sits nearby fashioning another masterpiece. Many of these crafters are not even from South Africa but are rather from one of its neighbouring country.

Still, their creative works reflect a distinctive African flair and since South Africa has become a hodgepodge of cultures, races and skills, it is only fitting that you will find such artwork available here.

South African crafts can be functional or purely decorative. You can purchase a hand-woven grass mat, hat or basket, or you can buy a beaded wire-sculpture to adorn your living room. Lamp shades, wire-framed papier-mâché animal heads, bamboo or cane furniture, carved wooden wild animals or masks and birds sculpted from metal for the garden have all found their way onto the South African market. The more creative the craftsman, the more likely he is to sell his product. You may even choose a simple key-ring made from beads and wire as a simple and efficient reminder of your trip to South Africa. Or may choose something more elaborate – like a beaded necklace or a woven or printed tapestry. In certain parts of the country you will even find designer African boutiques where you can purchase original creations inspired by and incorporating elements of the South African environment.

So the next time you travel around South Africa, look out for these little road-side stalls. Not only will you find that the goods are available for much lower than those sold in airports or at tourism centres, but you will be supporting the little-person who is trying to lay claim to his own small part of the country’s economy. You may also find inspiration in these creative gems or you may even make a friend. Support South African trade today and take an interest in the country’s little pockets of talent.


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