Namibia’s san community makes living from selling traditional jewellery


The san community from the Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia have discovered a niche market thus making jewellery using Ostrich egg shells which they then sell in Europe through Non Governmental Organisations.

The craft, which started out as a micro-project 30 years ago, has evolved into a viable way of generating income helping them to generate vital cash for the community.

The jewellery is of such an exceptional quality that in 2016 the predominantly female jewellery makers sold more pieces than ever before making about half a million Namibian dollars that they are now able to buy essential products and goods that would otherwise be out of reach for them and their communities.

In an interview on Monday, Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia representative Lara Diez said that the project is not only about generating cash, but spreading reputation and the beauty of their pieces further afield thus creating new markets as more tourists come in contact with these unique ostrich shell pieces. Helping to empower and have the communities to be able to take care of themselves and not depend on handouts.

The craft community is hoping to increase sales further this year to achieve half a million dollars in sales in 2017 which will ensure the viability and longevity of the programme as well as keep the craft makers motivated to continue with their work.

The craft project has been running for 30 years. The secret to its success is that it relies on traditional craft skills, while updating designs and adding a modern twist.

These objects have been made in the same manner for generations and worn by the communities for centuries are now being embraced by Namibians from all walks of life as well as those further afield.

With the full support and backing of NGOs such as Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN) and the Omba Arts Trust, these crafts people are able to go from strength to strength.

The NGOs provide the vital link for the community to the buyers, regionally, nationally and especially internationally. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/

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