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Tuesday, November 5, 2013


(Shamantha Moodley – TEP; Margaret Gribble – Senior Manager of Operations, Africa!Ignite; Nelisiwe Ndimande, crafter from the Mphakathi area of Hluhluwe; Gail Westphal of Gooderson Leisure; Trayfina Gumede, crafter from the Fivosenkosi community; Bongiwe Mlangeni – Production Coordinator, Africa!Ignite, and in front is crafter Alpha Sibiya from the Mbhedula area)

Talented crafters in the Hluhluwe area have just been given unprecedented access to a new market. Three crafters, each representing a different co-operative organisation, are showing tourists exactly how they make Zulu beaded love letters and wire and fabric painted souvenirs. The crafters have just been given space in the curio shop at the popular Gooderson DumaZulu Game Lodge and Traditional Village, which is the largest of its kind in the country, attracting more than 2,000 visitors a month in peak seasons. Visitors to Gooderson DumaZulu get to see the traditional Zulu way of making spears, clay pots and beer making at the village and, on their way out, wind their way through the well-stocked curio shop.

The shop is 90 percent full of curios from neighbouring countries and Gooderson DumaZulu - part of the Gooderson Leisure Group’s portfolio of hospitality properties - wants to change this. Realising that there were talented crafters on their doorstep who were able to create the same items, they decided to embark on a project to give local people the chance to access the lucrative tourist trade. Unemployment is rife in the area and although the crafters have unique skills, selling their products-and getting access to the right markets, is often difficult.

Gooderson’s Gail Westphal, the general manager of sales and marketing, turned to Shamantha Moodley. Provincial Manager of TEP for support and to facilitate the proposed project and Moodley in turn, called in another TEP client, Africa Ignite, an umbrella body, which provides holistic support, including product design and market access, to 1,000 crafters across the province.

Margaret Gribble, Africa Ignite’s senior manager of operations, who has been working with crafters in the Hluhluwe area for seven years, said she was excited about the plan. Craft and tourism were the entry points into the economy for many rural crafter groups, she explained.

Westphal, Moodley and Gribble recently visited the area when two women and one man-leaders of their co-operative crafting groups-were identified by Africa Ignite, to be the first to demonstrate their skills at the curio shop.

Moodley said that the “great thing is that the general manager of Gooderson DumaZumu, Heinz Fritz, is going to teach the crafters how to prepare stock sheets and how to price accordingly. They would also be taught computer skills.” Gooderson Leisure also knows what sells and will advise the crafters, she said. “This is the first time that this has been done at Gooderson DumaZumu and I think it is going to be really big. The project will give tourists a more authentic experience which was missing. There is also the whole excitement of bargaining and coming to a price that suits both parties. The visitors will also have a new-found appreciation of what they are buying and it will make them prepared to pay whatever it costs. The crafters are making small items that the tourists can pack into their luggage.”

The first three crafters are Nelisiwe Ndimande from the Mphakathi area of Hluhluwe, Trayfina Gumede from the Fivosenkosi community and their male colleague, Alpha Sibiya from the Mbhedula area. Said Ndimande: “I am very happy to be here and it is even better if the tourists are happy with the craft.” The curio shop crafters will eventually be housed at the tourist attraction.

For more information, contact Shamantha Moodley on 031 201 0788 or 073 457 5855 or email: