Arts & Crafts

Everywhere you go on the Wild Coast you will find craft sellers, usually with a tablecloth full of their wares spread on the ground. Their favourite vantage points are all the places that tourists would stop for some reason: petrol stations, resorts, supermarkets, pavements outside banks and post offices. Several craft shops are found at Port St Johns –among them are Pondo People on the east side of the Mzimvubu river. The clothing made here is unique and very distinctive. Most have a variety of locally produced wooden sculptures, baskets and bead jewellery. Another shop in Port St Johns is Jakotz on Second Beach, which sells printed clothing and fabric.

At Coffee Bay is the Masizame Women’s project, housed in a colourful building just outside of the resort. This is one of the very few outlets in South Africa were there is an array of traditional Xhosa arts and crafts, ranging from beaded bags and belts, traditional clothing, baskets, mats and blankets. If you let them know in advance that you are coming, they can organize an authentic Xhosa lunch.

The biggest centre is the Mzamba craft market at the Wild Coast Sun south of Port Edward. Not only does this centre feature local craft but also good examples of craft from all over Africa. The special feature of this craft market is that each stall-holder has a little cubicle where he or she actually makes the craft. Potential customers can therefore actually see the crafters at work.

Mzamba craft market

Mzamba craft market was burned down in 2007.

I discovered this when I went on the Xolobeni protest walk on 20'th July 2008. I also discovered that all of the Transkei hiking trail huts have been destroyed.

It's really sad to see how eco-tourism has been purposely undermined to make way for macro economic, environmentally unfriendly, developments.

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