The three winners of the inaugural Eastern Cape Craft Competition have been selected to attend Africa’s premier design showcase – Design Indaba 2015. In 2014, more than 800 local and international buyers made Design Indaba a sourcing destination.
The crafters are East London’s Ozzy Eco Décor, Port Elizabeth’s Annette Oelofse Mohair Products and LM Junior from Mount Ayliff.
The three Eastern Cape craft businesses, who recently won the first Lithuba Lakho Eastern Cape Craft Competition, have been selected to take part in Africa’s premier design showcase, the Design Indaba Conference and Expo in Cape Town this week.
The annual Design Indaba is South Africa’s premier showcase of high-end African design, exhibiting the homegrown wares of all the creative sectors under one roof. Over 200 international buyers annually use the Indaba as their creative exploration ground. In 2014, more than 800 local and international buyers made Design Indaba a sourcing destination.
The crafters are East London’s Ozzys Eco Décor who won Best Eastern Cape Crafter: Home Ware, Port Elizabeth’s Annette Oelofse Mohair Products who won Best Eastern Cape Crafter: Accessories as well as LM Junior from Mount Ayliff who won Best Eastern Cape Crafter: Apparel.
“The Lithuba Lakho (This is Your Chance) Eastern Cape Craft Competition is the brainchild of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum (NMMAM) and Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA). The competition is set to become an annual event, identifying game-changers and creative design specimens that best represent the spirit of the Eastern Cape.
“The winners each received prize packages worth R20 000 for purchasing machinery and material. In addition to this, they have been picked to attend this year’s Design Indaba in Cape Town. This is a great opportunity for the three enterprises to learn from international best practice, create networks with a domestic and international audience. The Design Indaba is also the fastest growing show in the country with over 500 exhibitors in 2014 and more than 40 000 visitors,” says ECDC support services business advisor, Yandiswa Sodaba.
Sodaba says a total of 84 gritty competitors from 19 towns across the province vied for the top prize. Ultimately, those who presented high standards of innovation, technical skill, workmanship and quality; which would provide reproducible craft items won the day.
Sodaba says platforms such as the Design Indaba are envisaged to provide craft enterprises with exposure to current trends and market opportunities as well as possibilities for penetrating new markets.
“For example, ECDC has facilitated the participation of crafters in 12 exhibitions and expos such as Beckman’s Handcrafted Show (Chicago), Decorex Johannesburg and Cape Town, Indonesia International Furniture Expo (Jakarta) and Absa Vuka Showcase among others.
“In addition, ECDCs creative industries programme which mainly focuses on facilitating access to markets and assisting in product development supported a total of138 craft enterprises out of which 78% were women and 53% youth in 2013/14,” Sodaba explains.
Highlighting the importance of promoting and encouraging crafts within the province, NMMAM Exhibition Curator, Emma O’Brien says the exhibition for the competition was all about celebrating excellence.
“This was an opportunity to share one’s skills and artistic talent to a broader audience. The quality and diversity of the objects were a highlight and the exhibition was well received. The thing is, you never know what you are going to get when you ask people to submit work for an exhibition, but crafters from across the province surpassed our expectations,” O’Brien says.
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