We wholesale a wide variety of quality handmade crafts and homeware from Southern Africa. As we are based in Cape Town, which has become a centre for crafts and artefacts from all over Africa, we can offer a one-stop service to shops and importers. Our suppliers are individual craftspeople and self-help organisations.
Please click on the pictures above to see samples of the crafts we offer.
A Historical Perspective On African Crafts.
African crafts can be extremely variable. Variations can include geographical or tribal differences, antique, old or new, the degree of Western or other influences, hand or machine tools used, and the degree of handwork involved.
Tribal crafts have always been distinctive and much folklore can be attached to a particular artefact or pattern giving meaning to it. Antique tribal artefacts have become collectors pieces, Consequently there is much faking and 'aging' of some lines such as masks.
Artifacts from foreign cultures are becoming increasingly absorbed over time and are blended into tribal use. For 300 years this has been happening in South Africa and for centuries there has been trade and interaction between Europe and North and West Africa while there has been Arab trade down the East coast of the continent. Outside influences have increased exponentially of late with "modernisation". As a result of this cultural interaction, many tools and utensils have been adopted and integrated into African culture - a process that still continues.
With the advent of industrialisation, some lines have lent themselves to partial factory production such as metal work, textiles and woodwork. Other lines such as beadwork, basket making and wood carving have remained largely in the hands of individuals and small groups, and follow more traditional methods, shapes and patterns.
Even with goods which are partially factory made, the rule is for the rough shaping to be done by machine while the labour-intensive finishing is done by hand. This leaves an element of individuality on the product, unlike most Western factory produced goods. Irrespective of the origin or modernity of an article, the distinguishing thing about African crafts is the pattern, design and colours used, which give it a distinctly African flavour.
An example of this is Bushman paintings. There are only a few people who commission actual Bushmen in the Kalahari to do designs for them. Many people have copied original Bushman paintings while others use the style of Bushman painting in their own designs. Such designs may appear on things like wall hangings, clocks or place mats, which are entirely foreign to the original painters.
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