Naane Holdings (Pty) Ltd Managing Director Alfons Lemogang Naane has said the majority of artifacts crafted locally fail to attract the lucrative curios market because of poor finish.
Speaking to Lifestyle during the October 7 to 8 Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa Naane stated the artifacts poor finish from shoddy craftsmanship downgrades intrinsic exports values into damp squids beyond the reach of the already financial overburdened local consumer.
Naane, the 30-year-old budding entrepreneur who joined the crafts brokerage business since 2010 said: “Our diversified curios market value loses momentum despite the range of high quality raw materials such as hard wood, tanned leather, ostrich eggshell or stone since quality depends on finish. For instance, handmade utensils from wood, pottery or basketry serve little purpose if they lose contents through leakage. I have encountered exquisitely woven basketry utensils suffering incontinence when used for storage of palatable foodstuffs like sorghum or maize mealie-meal, relegated to children’s toys or pet cradles by disgruntled owners.
“The eye-sore craftsmanship also becomes a promotional inhibiter for local crafts to contribute not only to sustainable economic diversification or corporate image branding of the tourism sector. I urge our handful though multi-skilled cohort of artists to benefit from Government and other stakeholders who apart from financial handouts are at wits-end to ensure the curios’ market sustains livelihoods. ”
Naane who operates from the African Mall says when he entered the crafts market, the biggest challenges for artists was to find buyers capable of paying fair value for money. After making an audit of unsold items, he approached individuals, explained the incumbent benefits of registering their entities under an umbrella body. To date, the company also trading as Naane Safaris has managed to get artists as far afield as Maun into its fold.
He explained: “We charge registration fees for interested clients and provide them with a networking platform for selling their crafts, sourcing prospective clients including those beyond our borders. We credit registered members through banking guaranteed cheques or hard cash transactions when customers remit payments through us. Due to the complexities of some transactions and the need to keep regular updates, we will soon go online with an accessible website.”
Naane Holdings was able to enable local artists to host exhibition/sales stalls and capitalize on the 2-day Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa attended by participants drawn from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states such as South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Madagascar and Mauritius to name some and Community for East and Southern African (COMESA) countries like Tanzania and Kenya. Liberia, Rwanda and UNDP were represented.
Participants to the event included artists from the Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Groovy 4 Art Centre, Neophyte Art Studio, Light for Life Candles, Gabane Pottery and Old Age Crafts. Artifacts on display ranged from ornamental pottery and basketry, paintings on leather, (of note former South African President and celebrity Nelson Mandela,) curio gifts, framed pictures, traditional attire and kaleidoscopic ceremonial candles.
In May 2012, Botswana hosted the Summit for Sustainability in Africa culminating in the Gaborone Declaration signed by 10 countries. In the endorsements there were also a set of Action Statements as well as commitment by the signatory countries who would report their implementation efforts annually. The Gaborone Declaration under the theme: “Environmental Sustainability 2013”, solidifies the initiative through reconvening signatory countries and key partners sharing advancements and formalizing the (environmentally friendly) pathway forward.