Ninety craft producers, for the first time will be exhibiting their work at Graskop Gorge, as part of government intervention in supporting small and micro Enterprises of the cultural and creative industry, aimed at bringing about the recovery and economic construction, especially following the two difficult years of 2020 and 2021.
The craft producers stand to benefit from the links that this exhibition has created with a wide range of potential consumers ranging from craft retailers, businesses from this area, the surrounds and indeed the whole country.
This initiative will also create a form of income and opportunities for people involved in curating, performers, security and catering companies. Those whose business include delivery and courier services, marketing and publicity as well as technical support will also reap the benefits of the exhibition.
The Minister says at the core of the cultural and creative industries, recovery should be a solid connection with viable markets, both local and international, for the products and services South Africa has to offer.
“What you see here is a carefully curated array of authentic South African handmade products. It is a showcase and celebration of South Africa’s creativity and resilience. For that reason the Graskop Gorge is in this instance more than just an exhibition host venue, but partners with us to bring about and fast track the much needed economic recovery of these strategic and interlinked sectors.”
“Every aspect about this exhibition is deliberate, from setting out to locating the exhibition in the Graskop Gorge because of the strong links that exist between the creative industries and the tourism sector.” the Minister Mthethwa adds.
The Minister’s hope is to see such partnerships throughout the country with future editions of the Beautiful Things Craft Exhibition and other programs the government practices.
The exhibition allows for direct sales of items on show and with transactions processed using the Ikhokha card machines, the Minister’s hope is that the buying process extends beyond to also include long term and sustained engagement between buyers, private and corporate, with producers of these works.
“This is where the digital catalogue comes in, to provide that link between producers and end users. This exhibition is therefore deliberately designed to facilitate that link. We have deliberately set out to ensure that our strategic partners and potential ones too are invited to get a glimpse of what we want to achieve so that together we can construct and collaborate on such interventions.”
“For instance, it would be wonderful if one of the retail concessionaries in South Africa’s national parks won the bid to organize and host the next edition to host this exhibition at one of the national parks. This would help us achieve one of our aspirations to create access for our handmade products into the shops in the national parks. ” he says
Partners of the craft exhibition include the Department of Small Business Development, the provincial departments, both sport and culture, as well and economic development, economic development agencies such as SEDA and MEGA, craft hubs, community art centres, representatives from Tourvest, as well as from Spier wine farm.
The hybrid nature of this will bring the desired exposure beyond this audience present here today. Minister Mthethwa alerted that his team will keep a record to ensure that sales and potential business resulting from this investment are properly monitored in order to measure the impact of this government intervention.
“At the very minimum we aim that this should translate in the type of market exposure that will trigger and enhance continual revenue streams for the 90 craft producers represented here.”