|LimbandungilaThe name ‘Limbandungila’ means ‘walk slowly’ in Oshiwambo, an indigenous language of northern Namibia and owner, Ottilie Nghiitwikwa, is a connoisseur of hand-carved wooden crafts from north and north-eastern Namibia.
Limbandungila was established in 1997 and stocks beautifully hand-carved wooden masks, paintings in relief, ceremonial masks and wildlife figurines, including traditional Namibian items such as bowls, cups and woven harvest baskets, predominantly from cultural groups in northern Namibia, selected with great care for her customers by Nghiitwikwa.
Her enterprise and initiative supports several rural producers and craftsmen, necessitating Ottilie Nghiitwikwa travel regularly to northern Namibia, scouting for new hand-carved wooden items. Her winning selections and choices of wooden craft has made Limbandungila an enduring supplier of quality products, known for its traditional, authentic wooden artefacts of Namibian origin.
|Lord ‘J’ Dyeing HouseRita Bankie is a qualified teacher from Ghana but in 1996, circumstances forced her to look elsewhere for a means of income. She explored her innate appreciation for vibrant colour, quality fabrics and established Lord ‘J’ Dyeing House.
With the assistance of three seamstresses and coupled with a steely determination to present customers at the stall in the Namibia Craft Centre with high quality products, Lord ‘J’ Dyeing House offers an array of fabric-based goods unique and rare in design.
In addition to fine Ashanti Kingdom kente cloth from Ghana, instantly recognisable as West African in origin and very popular in Namibia, Lord ‘J’ Dyeing House also stocks a variety of hand-painted fabrics, carefully selected by Rita Bankie, who utilises her trained eye to identify outstanding talent and workmanship.
The fabrics are either sold as is so that customers may use them as they see fit or value-added with decorations, cut and sewn into dresses for children, utility bags, cushion covers, table runners, tablecloths, potholders, placemats, shirts and apparel for adults. Lord ‘J’ Dyeing House offers a fascinating variety of African fabrics and high-quality, 100% cotton products.
Rita Bankie trained herself to sew and together with the seamstresses, design and often makes many of the items herself. The process of sewing and cutting fabric to a specific design invariably generates waste fabric in the form of off-cuts which she then uses to create patchwork fabric for blankets and throws.
A visit to Lord ‘J’ Dyeing House is an absolute must for a panoramic, exotic experience of and immersion in African fabrics and products, catering to all ages and spanning a satisfactory variety of curious tastes.
|Maid in AfricaThe quirky charm of Maid in Africa lies in its distinctly modern and rural African narrative. More than anything the everyday images, such as shebeens, bottles of Marmite and cans of sardines, carefully reproduced on the bright, hand-painted fabrics are accompanied by amusing and humorous African sayings, a tongue-in-cheek twist added to the regularity of contemporary African life.
Andrew and Micha Weir started Maid in Africa in 2006 after their domestic worker, Priscilla, was diagnosed with HIV. They were forced to watch helplessly as her condition worsened even though Priscilla expressed a desire to continue being productive. Micha Weir showed Priscilla how to silk-screen paint and produce hand-painted fabrics. Tragically, Priscilla succumbed to AIDS in 2007 but her passing inspired the Weirs to spread a wonderful, celebratory message, including immortalising Priscilla’s smiling image as ‘Maidonna’ on a variety of surfaces and a range of beautiful, highly sought-after cushion covers.
For the contemporary, urbanised, Afripolitan (African cosmopolitan), there is no better selection of African ‘pop art’ products, and its ability to merrily hold up a mirror mocking society, in the sound tradition of Warhol’s ‘pop art’, than the items produced by Maid in Africa. The bright colours of the hand-painted fabrics make these genuine statement pieces instantly attractive, the motifs on the items are truly timeless like good art and yet, they confidently hold their own in any setting.
For an excellent variety of postcards, some called ‘Oshi-cardies’ complete with rural Oshiwambo folk wisdoms, humorous fridge magnets, hand-painted and printed placemats, aprons, dresses, cushion covers and upholstery fabrics, some inspired by Namibian artist, John Muafangejo, and a charming expression of affection for Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, it is absolutely necessary to visit Maid in Africa in the Namibia Craft Centre for the best in ‘Afro pop art’.
|Marukuavi’s Beads and GiftsAt Rosa Marukuavi Kahuna’s stall in the Namibia Craft Centre, visitors will find a provocative collection of eco-friendly, low-cost jewellery handmade from natural materials such as glass beads, calabash, bone, horn, seeds, even recycled paper.
Marukuavi’s Beads and Gifts is twelve years old and Rosa Kahuna was taught how to make ear, neck and arm/wrist adornments by the previous owner. Rosa, an economically disadvantaged woman, now manages and stocks the stall herself, expressing her fine sensitivity for the diverse preferences of customers who desire a combination of contemporary and rural traditional designs.
Rosa knows by this time what works and what does not and she knows the craft market and its supporters like the back of her hand. The great variety in personal adornments, across several ranges of colours and in similar often various styles, testify to a keen awareness of the stallholder to attract and cater to as many tastes as possible, using display techniques that have served her well over the years.
Hand-painted leather key-rings, wooden and ostrich shell hairclips, handmade greeting cards and an assortment of wire-craft are also available at Marukuavi’s Beads and Gifts. Rosa also supports home-crafters by purchasing selected items from them she knows will suit her particular group of customers, and in so doing, has stimulated a small, mutually beneficial eco-system around her stall.
What makes her stall so irresistible is undoubtedly the extensive variety of a kind on offer and it is impossible not to purchase a pair of earrings, a handmade beaded necklace or a bangle made from good quality materials and decorated with care. The visitor will enjoy the ambience at Marukuavi’s Beads and Gifts because it leaves one with the nostalgic feeling of an authentic craft market experience...somewhere in wide, beautiful, mysterious Africa.
|Mewiliko Gift ShopMewiliko Gift Shop opened for business in 1999 at the Namibia Craft Centre, and stocks a unique range and collection of affordable and useful gifts. The shop is owned and managed by Anna Hango, who takes a keen interest in the needs of her customers.
On the shelves of Mewiliko are handmade products made almost entirely of natural materials and ingredients found in Namibia. Rare souvenirs made of bone, horns, ostrich shell and a range of cosmetics such as soaps, bath oils, body lotions and lip balm made with locally sourced natural oils.
Anna Hango’s inspiration for her selection of gifts is the variety of high-quality, attractive craft items produced all over Namibia and she particularly favours ancient Namibian motifs, like the ‘White Lady’ rock painting in the Brandberg Mountain, north-western Namibia, which dates back 2 000 years.
Popular gifts available from Mewiliko are sets of Africa-themed salad spoons, bottle-openers made with warthog and springbok horns, and candleholders in the form of women carrying baskets on their heads. This shop is the ideal venue for small, memorable, uniquely Namibian handmade gifts.
Mio Pet BedsMio offers beautiful and unusual, but yet practical cat- and dogbeds, colourful and unique bandanas, collars, harnesses, matching leashes, and highly seductive toys.
Every single Mio is hand made with loads of love and attention to detail. Every Mio is designed and produced right here in Windhoek, Namibia.
Every customized Mio is a UNIQUE design planned and sewn just for you. Nowhere in the world, will you find another bedding or pillow with this special combination of your chosen colours and patterns.
There is a broad range of different materials to choose from, and different designs and styles to make the Mio perfect for you and your pet.
Thanks to the four-legged members of the Mio-team, every bedding is stress tested on quality and comfort before it finds its way into your home.
Mio started as a project with which we tried to raise money to cover the expenses of the cats that we adopted from the SPCA in Windhoek, the Cat Protection Society, or found in the streets. We fostered street kittens that were found in Otavi and tried to find loving forever homes for them, with the help of the Cat Protection Society of Namibia. Some of them have stayed with us since, as we could not find propper homes. By now, we are a big and happy Mio family with four cats and one dog.
There is still so much more to come. We are always working on new designs and we still have plenty of ideas left for many, many new products and designs which will hopefully be soon realized.
|Miracle Arts & CraftsMiracle Arts & Crafts is a relatively small stall in the Namibia Crafts Centre but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for with a resplendent and truly amazing variety of small to medium sized handicrafts from every imaginable corner of Namibia.
The woman behind this ‘tiny shopping mall’ of crafts is Elisabeth Hangara, a crafter herself. Elisabeth has a generous, curious and creative spirit which manifests itself in the depth of the range of crafts in the stall. Everything and anything you can imagine from ear adornments, bangles, postcards, greeting cards, handmade paper, Namibian flags and key-rings, scarves to hand-embroidered cushion covers, placemats, ceramics, wire craft, wood craft...the list is endless. She so thoroughly immerses visitors to her stall in the variety of craft products available in Namibia.
Miracle Arts & Crafts does not present a particular perspective of the local craft industry; it genuinely offers the widest possible range of perspectives, forms and aesthetics of crafts one could possibly encounter in any one place. A busy little space, every nook and cranny stocked, visitors and tourists are forgiven for lingering while browsing through layers of complimentary and opposing craft products at this fascinating stall.
Elisabeth Hangara tends to the stall herself and her friendly manner matched by a magnanimous spirit makes for easy chatting and a truly pleasurable shopping experience. Her many of years of crafting, local connections and experience in the craft sector in Namibia, serve as the foundation for her genuine appreciation and love of quality crafty gifts.
If you are looking for something unique and very different by way of local crafts, be sure to make your way to the Miracle Arts & Crafts stall in the Namibia Crafts Centre and spend a few words with a Namibian crafter whose enthusiasm is infectious.