Craft Centres, South Africa

Craft Centres in South Africa.

When on South African holidays, you will find that crafts are both innovative and inexpensive. Almost every town has its little craft markets and the cities have plenty to choose from. Cape Town's Greenmarket Square is a legend with a variety of handmade clothing, shoes, jewellery and much more. In Johannesburg, Bruma Market is reputed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere - could well be. It's enormous and vendors sell all manner of clothes, trinkets - whatever.

The curio market outside Rosebank Mall is a fun place to shop - especially for pieces from all over Africa, and on Sunday the rooftop competes with its more usual wares. Durban's Essenwood Market sells high quality handmade items, such as funky clothes, leather shoes and furniture.

There are examples of fantastic weaving, baskets, beadwork, carving, pottery and other innovative crafts all over the country - and many craft industries that create fantastic artworks from waste products and free materials, which are really something special to collect on your South African holidays. Metal sculptures made largely from used beverage cans, aerosol tins, wire and other scrap, are a feature of the streets of all South African cities but this art is best represented in the Eastern Cape, near the town of Cradock. Here local artists make wire windmills up to two metres tall, and aeroplanes with 'real' propellers, which actually go round.

Women on the Move, an initiative by unemployed women on the Garden Route, has started making decorative articles from the bark of the alien black wattle tree - providing themselves with an income and hastening the demise of this despised invader plant. Used plastic shopping bags (the scourge of Africa) are woven into funky hats and mats; and every day, on the side of the road, someone will display a new and innovative way of utilising a common material.

And, of course, many of our so-called craftspeople are actually fine artists - although it is sometimes hard to draw the line.

Interestingly, and conveniently, craft from all over Africa is on offer on your South African holidays - both at markets, in speciality stores and on the side of the road.

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