|Oasa Taradi TrustThe distinctive embroidery of Oasa Taradi is the result of years of careful cultivation and dedication. Unique, bold, eye-catching and well executed, the beautifully embroidered cushion covers, tablecloths, serviettes, aprons and placemats of Oasa Taradi are the finished products of underprivileged women in Namibia.
‘Oasa Taradi’ means ‘busy women’ in Nama/Damara, an indigenous Namibian language. The trust developed from a sewing project started by the Red Cross in 1989. The project engaged underprivileged Namibian women to sew and repair clothing using sewing machines donated by the Red Cross. The women involved with the project were unemployed, heads of their households, sole caretakers of their children and breadwinners of their families.
In 1993, the Oasa Taradi Trust was established with the support of local and international volunteers who saw the project and the products had potential. The women involved with the Trust may opt to work from home or at the trust centre and are paid per finished article, adhering to strict quality standards. A total of 14 Namibian women are currently beneficiaries of the trust and consistently produce embroidered articles of exceptional quality.
|Omba Arts TrustThe Omba Arts Trust is more than a promoter of rare Namibian crafts and art; it is a registered Fair Trade organisation, not for profit and a preserver of some of Namibia’s oldest crafting practices. For the past twenty years, the Trust has worked closely with the Ju/Hoansi community in Namibia to foster a sustainable development model with the intention to integrate the rare skills of the Ju/Hoansi into the mainstream economy.
The Ju/Hoansi is a San tribal community in rural Namibia, confined in large part to but a small section of their previous hunter-food-gathering landscape. With the guidance and support of Omba Arts Trust, community members fashion beautifully intricate jewellery from ostrich egg shells and create very rare pieces of art, often used as inspiration for a unique range of fabric prints also available from the Trust.
In addition, Omba has for the longest time engaged skilled and talented basket weavers from various parts of Namibia to produce a range of decorative and highly sought-after baskets; a standard feature in most Namibian homes representing an abstraction of symbols relating to wealth and fertility, in particular. The baskets are for the most part the natural colour of palm leaves, decorated with modern material or stunning patterns perfectly complimentary to their circular designs.
For truly rare jewellery, art, fabric and baskets with an age old indigenous history, the Omba Arts Trust stall at the Namibia Crafts Centre is the ideal place to visit.
||Out Of Katutura Out Of Katutura is a collaboration of two projects, the IYaloo Project and the Matukondo Doll Project.
IYaloo ProjectThe IYaloo Project was started in 2005 by four unemployed women of Katutura. Kornelia, Beata, Maria and Emilia combined their skills to alter, repair clothing and make pet baskets for cats and dogs.
After receiving a large donation of bean stuffing and material, they expanded their product range to include the production of beanbags. While making beautiful beanbags, the IYaloo women also started making unique and interesting handbags using discarded vinyl LPs. The eye-catchingly attractive LP handbags generated so much local interest, a prominent businessman created a market for the IYaloo LP handbags in his native country of Italy, where the bags continue to sell to this day. The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) also heard about the interesting handbags and donated thousands of old vinyl LPs to the IYaloo Project.
All the unique products made by the women of the IYaloo Project are sold at the Namibia Crafts Centre. The women produce their goods at the Soutere Centre in Goreangab, Katutura.
Matukondjo Dolls ProjectThe Matukondjo Dolls Project is a a true example of sustainable self-empowerment. Founded in 2003 by a former kindergarten teacher, the original eight members of the Matukondjo Dolls Project are still the primary producers of a charming collection of 100% child-friendly rag dolls.
At the beginning of the project, after hours and days spent practising, the remarkable range of Matukondjo Dolls emerged which included a Big Mama doll, a Sister Baby doll and a Simple Doll Dress. The fabrics used to make the dolls are selected with the greatest care and with child-safety as a top consideration. Each of the women involved in the making of the dolls uses her own cultural approach to design and decorate the dolls and not long after, smaller dolls such as the Twin Baby and Back Baby were added to the range.
The women of the Matukondjo Dolls Project started off with very little. Due to their perserverance, personal investment and the consequent success of the unique dolls, Meriam, Magda, Drotea, Olivia, Josephina, Mariana, Alina and Tusnerde today each own a sewingmachine and economically support directly and indirectly an estimated total of 42 Namibians.
The Matukondjo dolls are sold at the Namibia Craft Centre, the Penduka shop in Katutura, by the Gondwana Collection of lodges, Wolwedans Estate and Mushara Lodge.
|Peace CollectionRicky Khaxab established ‘The Peace Collection’ as a way to promote and share his fervent belief in peace as the only means to harmonious co-existence among various dominant cultural narratives and in retaliation to a background overshadowed by the violence of colonial Namibia, when the country was highly militarised and war raged mercilessly on the northern border.
Ricky’s ‘Peace Collection’ is available at a stand in the Namibia Crafts Centre and visitors are presented with an intriguing range of personal adornments and accessories, bracelets, key-rings and necklaces, designed around an assortment of beautiful, Namibian semi-precious stones often combined with other natural materials such as locally-sourced processed leathers in a variety of fashionable colours and raw animal hides. Semi-precious stones such as rose quartz, blue lace agate, yellow jasper and amethyst are the focal points in rings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces, gently held in place with graceful loops of silver wire.
Ricky’s aestheticism draws inspiration from a rural Namibian environment; far removed from the lights, hustle and bustle of Windhoek. As a designer, it is obvious he appreciates the refined perfection of semi-precious stones each uniquely and irregularly shaped millions of years ago, and incorporates them as they are into unique and wearable items of jewellery. There is an element of acceptance of ‘that which is’ apparent in this aspect of his presentation, consistently embraced throughout. His choice and selection of colours and materials do not jar, disturb or distract; they do indeed promote an inner feeling of harmony.
Every item in ‘The Peace Collection’ is a miniscule messenger proclaiming peace to all and sundry, underwritten by one hopeful Namibian’s belief that we are all collectively responsible for maintaining peaceful, harmonious relationships wherever we are and wherever we go.
|Penduka Development TrustPenduka Development Trust is a welfare organisation situated in Katutura, Windhoek, and was established twenty years ago, with the aim to uplift and empower economically disadvantaged and disabled women. The word ‘penduka’ means ‘wake up!’ and is a call to women in Namibia to take charge of their lives.
Penduka’s products are useful and perfectly suited to the home. Hand-embroidered tablecloths, placemats, napkins, cushion covers, duvet covers and aprons made of the purest, quality cotton in accordance with the latest decor palettes, are able to beautifully compliment even the most avant garde of homes. The organisation also has a functioning batik division which produces beautiful hand-painted cotton products using Namibian wildlife as primary inspiration.
More than 500 hundred women in central Namibia, urban and rural, are supported by the project and make an independent living to support themselves and their dependents embroidering the finest African cotton by hand, sewing finished products, making wire and bead craft, pottery and glass beads.
Penduka Development Trust produces according to a ‘piece-pay’ system which ensures that every woman is fairly compensated for her labour, the items or ‘pieces’ completed, quality control checked and delivered, and also receives a part of the income of the final product. By supporting Penduka and purchasing its beautifully embroidered and hand-painted products, the organisation is able to in turn empower and expand its activities to uplift economically vulnerable women.