Hosting the 2010 World Cup is a tremendous accomplishment for this complex region, hopefully the excitement of the moment will continue to inspire economic growth and social change. The growth of the handmade industry is also taking root, with traditional African artistry becoming globally relevant. Enock Mpofu is a fine artist who grew up in public housing in the slums of Zimbabwe, where he shared a tiny apartment with his seven family members. Now Mpofu is an internationally recognized artist whose fine beadwork results in these dazzling creatures, each animal reflects the beauty of its living inspiration. Each piece is signed by the artist and numbered.
Aid to Africans is an international non-profit organization that uses craft to spur economic development, and one of their artisans is the collective Feeling African. Based in Soweto, Feeling African produces wire furniture that has been nationally acclaimed (Elle Décor recently featured this table.) Furniture ranges from side tables, coffee tables, stools and bowls. Feeling African also creates custom made pieces.
Wola Nani was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization aiding people and communities impacted by HIV. Historically women bear the brunt of the global HIV pandemic. They have limited resources to help when this disease comes into their lives. Wola Nani is an art collective offering women a way to earn income, even in a time of crisis. In the Xhosa language, Wola Nani means “we embrace and develop one another”. These papier mache bowls are handmade by local women in South Africa who are dealing with HIV.
**If you happen to be visiting Johannesberg in August, you can stop by the South African Handmade Collection event taking place from the 5th-9th.