Sara Basson hails from the historically significant settlement of Leonardville in the Omaheke Region, eastern Namibia. Leonardville was the traditional settlement of the Khauas Nama (Red Nation), a sub-tribe of the Orlam Nama, and is still called by its original name, ‘Naosanabis’, by many of its older inhabitants. In 1894, German colonial troops expelled the Khauas Nama from Leonardville and the entire group perished in the Herero/Namaqua genocide of 1904-1905. After the genocide, the Witbooi Orlam Nama tribe settled at Naosanabis (Leonardville), where their descendants live to this day.
Sara Basson, from Leonardville, is a producer of what is traditionally known as ‘handicraft’, meaning she produces useful, decorative pieces made completely by hand or using only the simplest of tools. The ‘simple tools’ Basson uses to make a variety of bead-edged doilies, dolls, placemats and mobiles are none other than her hands.
Sara has been a crafter for as long as she can remember and was taught to sew by her mother, making her a second generation crafter. Her entire life and its course to date were shaped by her skills at crafting. After moving to Windhoek, in search of a better life, higher income and confident of her skills, she initially sold her handicraft on the streets of the city before applying successfully for a stall at the Namibia Craft Centre.
The curios and crafts at her stall reflect Sara Basson’s distinctly rural Namibian aesthetics, almost untouched by her urban surroundings, an innate sense of proportion (small dolls) and an endearing quest for quality as shown by the pristine finishing on her handmade doilies and knitted items.
Sara vows to continue producing handmade craft until the day she dies because she enjoys working with her hands. Each item at Saras Sara'n, the name of her stall, is handmade and entirely unique; the singular manifestation of one brave, rural Namibian woman’s inspiration.