No doubt about it – South Africans are a crafty bunch. The country's people produce a remarkable range of arts and crafts, working from the pavements and markets of the big cities to deep rural enclaves, with every possible form of traditional artwork – and then some.
There's a lot of new work in traditional media, with artists constantly developing the African crafts repertoire. These range from pretty tableware, Christmas tree decorations and magnificent embroidered cloths to the simplest of items, such as keyrings and candle-holders.
In addition to the standard materials such as beads, grass, leather, fabric and clay, pieces are made using telephone wire, plastic bags, petrol cans and bottle tops – even food tin labels are used to create brightly coloured papier mache bowls.With characteristic inventiveness, South Africans have adapted every possible medium to a market that feeds both locals and tourists.
On sale on many a South African street corner are objects made of wire, ranging from representations of the globe to cars and motorcycles – which are capable of manipulated movement – to joke cellphones and working radios.
Here is a small collection of some that I proudly own:
"A WORK OF ART IS THE UNIQUE RESULT OF A UNIQUE TEMPERAMENT"