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WOMENíS FESTIVAL CRAFT (article first published : 2001-07-22)

The development of a craft market is just one of a number of exciting Festival "firsts" at this yearís South African Womenís Arts Festival, presented by The Playhouse Company and proudly sponsored by Transnet, which runs from August 8 to 12.

The porte cochere area directly outside the main entrance to the Playhouse complex will become a bustling craft market offering an innovative new aspect to the Festival. Especially selected groups of women-crafters will be creating their works on-site as well as selling their wares throughout the Festival.

One of the highlights of the display will be mats made from recycled plastic by Nobahle Jali, a student at Ningizimu School for the Severely Mentally Handicapped. Located in Montclair, the school caters for a wide range of abilities.

Towards the end of 2000 when Nobahle was preparing to graduate, she began experimented crocheting scrap plastic donated to the school. In no time she was producing high-quality and innovative mats. The quality was so good that she soon had orders for mats and wall-hangings. A banking account has been opened for her and she is on her way to generating an income for herself. This is extremely important as work opportunities are limited for Nobahle and she is from a very underprivileged background. She is now making a variety of mats in regular and deluxe formats and has orders from both private individuals and companies. The Festival will assist her to secure orders for further mats and hangings.

Ulwembo Crafts, a group of weavers and beaders from Esikhanini, combine the finest ilala basketwork from the remote Hlabisa region with new design styles. The materials used include: lilala palm, incema grass, isikhonkwa grass and ikhwane grass. The female students of the Centre for Fine Art, Animation and Design will bring paintings, beadwork, ceramics and a cartoon exhibit.

The craft market ties in to the festivalís theme - Breaking new ground - Women as entrepreneurs in the arts - and gives these women-crafters a platform to profile their work and their business skills. The wide selection of high quality merchandise on display can be bought or ordered during the festival.

More details on The South African Womenís Arts Festival 2001 on the Festival Hotline on (031) 369-9444. Or pick up a brochure at TicketWeb outlets or the Playhouse Complex for a complete guide to times, events, ticket prices, etc.




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