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Saturday, June 6, 2020


The Village Green, the buzzing fair at the heart of the National Arts Festival in Makhanda (Grahamstown), will this year become an online treasure trove of crafted wares and savvy finds.

 “We decided that the show must go on this year, which has meant that the Festival has pivoted into the digital realm,” says Monica Newton, the CEO of the National Arts Festival. “We are determined to bring our audiences a very special experience and what would the Festival be without the Village Green to shop all your souvenirs – so we are inviting our traders to come and join us.”

 The Virtual Green will be housed on the Festival’s website,

 This is being upgraded to present much-loved Village Green finds such as woolly beanies, handmade jewellery, paintings and carvings and textiles. The Eastern Cape’s local craft and design will form part of the offering, too – expect intricate beadwork, colourful traditional clothing, carved bowls, vases and toys, and much more.

 The Festival is also working with the Craft and Design Institute to bring traders from across South Africa into the space through links to their Peek pages. Shoppers wanting to buy from crafters will be able to transact directly with traders to ensure a personalised experience.

 “This is the time to support local small businesses and we would like to urge Festival visitors to visit the site and buy something – even if it is something small,” says Newton.

 NAF and CDI will be bringing a wide range of exciting goods to a screen near you during the Virtual National Arts Festival, which runs from June 25 to July 5, 2020.


Send in your monuments!

Is there a monument in your country, city, village or backyard you think should be contested? If so, this open call is for you.

 Portuguese artist and curator Marcio Carvalho is inviting South Africans to collaborate with him on his new project, WHO DO WE COME TO H(A)UNT. “The idea is to create a pool of drawing-collaborations between the artist and audiences to share alternative stories and build a healing site to critically engage in re-interpreting the histories behind those objects,” Carvalho explains.

 To participate, all you have to do is send a photograph of the statue/monument/memorial and a single paragraph of text explaining why a forum should be opened to contest it to

 WHO DO WE COME TO H(A)UNT is an interactive art project that is on the Creativate programme of this year's Virtual National Arts Festival, which will open on June 25.


We received more than 80 designs for our vNAF t-shirt competition. Four designs have been shortlisted – let us know which one you like best by voting at Facebook and Instagram


Meet the team behind our new online marketplace:

Three strong-willed women keep the Village Green fair wheels turning. This year, without the sawdust and tents, Director Selina White and her assistants Clarissa Carolus and Rene Engelbrecht are polishing their online skills to help create digital stalls for the crafters, creators and resellers that have become part of the NAF family over the years. They look forward to welcoming new traders to the fold – as well as showing the audience around the Virtual Green. Find out more about the 'Green Team' here

 Traders wishing to participate in this year's Virtual Green can sign up here.

 There is no registration fee.

NAF is hosting a webinar on Wednesday June 10 at 16h00 that focuses on the Virtual Green. It will be facilitated by Village Green Director Selina White, who will introduce the Virtual Green, share a sneak peek of the new website and explain the process of submitting work. Crafters and other experts will talk about getting the most out of having an online presence. Register here



Showering love on local craft and design.

The National Arts Festival has partnered with the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) to create new connections between crafters and markets and bring their work to a whole new audience in South Africa and beyond.

 The CDI is a non-profit company with over 19 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large in South Africa. It currently supports more than 5,600 businesses and individuals in the South African craft and design sector. CDI’s services help these businesses develop the right product or service for the right market using appropriate business and production systems; and facilitates national and international market opportunities to help them grow.

 CDI’s online digital platform is dedicated to showcasing beautiful craft and design products made in South Africa and has been made possible thanks to funding by the Department of Small Business Development. Read more at:


(To link direct to the National Arts Festival site, click on the large banner that runs across the top of this blog or visit or visit Facebook:; Twitter: @artsfestival or Instagram: nationalartsfestival)