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BIGGARSBERG BUYWAYS (article first published : 2000-02-5)

An arts and crafts route named Biggarsberg Buyways has been opened as a tourist attraction in the Dundee area.

The route is modelled largely on the successful Midlands Meander and has been set up as part of a campaign to ease the serious unemployment problem in northern KZN. It provides an income for the many formerly unemployed craftsmen who are now marketing their goods at various established outlets along the way.

“The route has its centre in Dundee and stretches 40km to the east and 40km to the west” said Mrs Pam McFadden, a spokesperson for the organisers. She said the route was blessed with a host of highly talented people who had put their weight behind marking the craft route a success. Many of the old traditional skills are still practised in the area. Other traditional skills have been lost, but people are now being re-trained to use them. Local craftsmen had also learned to adapt the traditional skills for use in modern applications, for instance some people are taking traditional Zulu pots and painting them to produce decorative items.

Pam McFadden also said the part being played by Biggarsberg Buyways in the re-introduction of lost skills had led to a decision to use the red-billed oxpecker as a symbol for the route. The oxpecker, a tick eating bird had become almost extinct in the area because farmers had for a long time used a poisonous type of cattle dip. The area has now been free of harmful dips for some years and the birds re-introduced in the area have settled in.




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