South African Crafts

South Africa is exceptionally rich in talented crafters. The amazing talent of some of South Africa's craft artists is reflected in craft art such as baskets, beads, creamics, glass, fibres and fabrics, metal, paper, quilts, wire, wax and wood.

In addition to the standard materials, pieces are made using telephone wire, plastic bags, petrol cans and bottle tops - even food tin labels are used to create brightly coloured papier mache bowls.

On sale on many a South African street corner are objects made of wire - from cars and motorcycles to joke cellphones and working radios. At craft centres and roadside stalls all over South Africa you'll find fantastic pots, basketware, beadwork, embroidery and carvings

The crafts people produce items in various indigenious traditions including Zulu, Venda and Ndebele. These items may include beadwork, grass mats and clay pots.

South African beadwork, once the insignia of tribal royalty alone, has today found a huge range of applications, from the creation of coverings for everything from bottles to matchboxes - and the reproduction of the red Aids ribbon in the form of small Zulu beadworks known as Zulu love letters.

Basketry and ceramics were long ago brought to perfection in traditional South African society, and the outgrowths of these forms today grace galleries and suburban shelves.

Shops, markets and collectives dealing in African craft are thriving, providing much-needed employment. For approximately 1.2 million crafters in South Africa, the industry is a vital source of income.

South African Crafts