Bay designers excel in craft competition

ECDC creative industry sector specialist Yandiswa Sodaba is wearing one of the top 10 entries in Lithuba Lakho 2019
ECDC creative industry sector specialist Yandiswa Sodaba is wearing one of the top 10 entries in Lithuba Lakho 2019
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Port Elizabeth designers shone at the fourth Lithuba Lakho (This is Your Chance) Competition and exhibition awards, scooping four of the five category prizes on Friday.

The public may view the creations at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Park Drive, Port Elizabeth.

This is the first time that designers from the western side of the province showed such dominance.

Sibanda, Nozuko Nqonqoza and Amanda Qeqe all from Port Elizabeth each walked away with the top prizes of R15,000 worth of material and equipment in the contemporary accessory, traditional wear and home wear categories respectively. East London designer Nangamso Dana won the apparel category.

An initiative of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and the museum in conjunction with the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), the competition recognises the top crafters in the Eastern Cape.

It is designed to promote top export quality craft from a diverse range of disciplines.

“In 2019, the competition which celebrates and recognises the best creative works in the craft industry, attracted 69 creative work submissions at 10 venues across the Eastern Cape. A total of 10 crafts were submitted,” said ECDC creative industry sector specialist Yandiswa Sodaba.

Four crafters walked away with the top prize of R15,000 each in materials and machinery in each of the four categories: homeware, traditional wear, contemporary accessory and apparel.”

Museum director Emma O’Brien said the competition had grown tougher each year.

“This is evident in the growing quality of submissions. We are also especially pleased that in the four years the competition has been running, this year the Nelson Mandela Bay region has really come to the party with some really good quality submissions,” O’Brien said.

The competition also has grown in popularity, attracting partners such as hosts Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum, MBDA, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, and the department of small business development.

ECDC CEO Ndzondelelo Dlulane said the creative industries possess a potential to contribute significantly to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP), alleviating poverty, reducing inequality and the high unemployment rate challenge faced by the country and the Eastern Cape.

“The creative sector can also improve social cohesion and inclusion for SMMEs in both the rural and urban areas. ECDC intervenes in this sector in a very significant manner. ECDC arranges a number of trade platforms within the country to provide access to markets for the SMMEs in the industry, most of whom are located in rural areas,” Dlulane said.

“In 2017/2018, ECDC participated at nine creative industry trade platforms which are aimed at improving the competitiveness of craft entrepreneurs.

“In 2017/2018, a total of 110 SMMEs were helped to participate in these events. These businesses generated sales worth R762,799 from these events.”

ECDC enjoys a partnership with the department of small business development of R2.5m per year to support the industry through market access, training and workshops to improve their products.

ECDC is also managing a craft shop which is now fully functional in Nahoon, East London.

The shop sells traditional Eastern Cape craft that is produced in the province. The craft shop houses products from 98 crafters from across the Eastern Cape.

The shop generated sales worth R406,000 in 2017/2018.