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Macufe Crafts Market Sets Artists Up To Win


Throughout Macufe, artists, designers and entrepreneurs set up shop to sell their work, reports Teboho Mpholo

With the high unemployment rate tormenting South Africa, Macufe created a platform for artists to sell their work at the Crafts Market in order to put bread on the table.

The market consisted of genders of different ages as well as people living with disabilities. They came from all over South Africa to sell different traditional clothes, paintings, wooden crafted animals, shoes, as well as modern coffins.

Tsietsi Makhetha, an artpreneur in his 50s, originally from Lesotho, was one of the marketers who took advantage of the opportunity to sell his Basotho traditional hats, carpets and brooms. He has been exhibiting his work at the market since 2007.

Makhetha said he travels around the country to market his products at different festivals. To him this is more than income; he loves his job because it also helps to restore the heritage of Basotho.

Some of the hats he makes are called Ba Penye Ngwetsi Ya Ka, Mokorotlo, Modiyanyewe and Lesiba La Moshweshwe.

Many years ago Maria Mokgatla (65) fell ill after giving birth and ended up losing her legs due to medical reasons, a loss which made her to not want to face the world.

But challenges of being a single mother forced her to overcome her disability and grab the bull of life by its horn.

She and other women then received training from the Department of Labour, before joining an organisation called Itekeng, which sells hand-crafted bags and jewellery.

Mokgatla told me they have been selling their goods since 2013 at the Macufe Crafts Market, and she is thankful for that because it gives exposure to their business, even though they do not stay in Bloemfontein.

A few stalls away from Makhetha sat a young woman who sells sweets, water and juice. Thandeka Nokhulwa is originally from Rocklands, Bloemfontein, and is a Grade 11 learner at Lereko High School. The young ambitious woman’s only dream is to finish her matric successfully so that she can assist her parents with household costs.

“My mother was a domestic worker and lost her job a few years ago, and my father is mechanic,” said Thandeka, adding that she normally sells her products at home, but they still struggle to make ends meet because her father makes very little money from fixing cars.

“The main reason that I am selling the products here at the market is because I need to save up money for next year as there is a very important matric camp where an amount of R4 500 is needed. If I start saving now, hopefully I would have saved enough by August next year.”

Teboho Mpholo is the News Editor of ART STATE. She is @MpholoTeboho on Twitter

FEATURED IMAGE: Crafts on display at the Macufe Village. Credit: Teboho Mpholo

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