By Precious Moyo
Nkayi community has opened a craft centre where community members will exhibit their craft work including baskets, jewellery, pottery, flowers, hoes and axes.
These products will be sold to both local and foreign buyers to boost the community’s income generation as well as create employment. Amakhosikazi media spoke to some women on the sidelines of the official launch who said they look to it to change their economic misfortunes. Mrs Sozi Mpofu said the craft centre is a life transforming opportunity for them to attract buyers who will bring foreign currency to Nkayi.
“This is not just a local project, Nkayi crafts are marketable beyond borders. This craft centre is a good place for us to exhibit our craft and attract foreign markets. We are happy because we will also get foreign currency to meet our needs,” she said.
Mrs Mpofu said they are looking forward to bringing more businesses that will boost their economic muscle.
“We want to expand our business and hope to have restaurants here where women will be selling food stuffs. We also want to decorate this place hoping that in future we will have a guest lodge and wedding venues,” she said.
Mrs Mavis Mathe, another artisan said the centre is a stepping stone towards the expansion of their businesses.
“It is different from just producing craft and sitting at home with your products. Here we are going to showcase our talents and sell to various people,” she said.
Mrs Mathe said the money will help them to pay children’s school fess and meet other needs.
“Through selling we will get some money to buy food and other basic needs. With time we can manage to get money for school fess,” she said.
The UNDP Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Livelihoods Project assisted the Nkayi Craft Centre with resuscitation process through capacity building, market linkages, and funded the renovations.
The craft center has been inactive for 10 years and the resuscitation is a breakthrough for locals.
The guest speaker, Nkayi District Administrator, Ms Matilda Mlotshwa said the community should take advantage of the centre to expand their market.
“Our crafts need to be very visible to other people. Let us not confine our crafts to these walls but let us book space in fairs like the Harare Agricultural Show, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair as well as at the SADC and COMESA exhibitions to earn foreign currency,” she said.
Added Ms Mlotshwa, the Diaspora market is one of the lucrative destinations of Nkayi craft work.
She commended Nkayi community for realising the power of using their talent for job creation.
“We want to commend the 36 co-operators who have pooled their resources and harnessed their varied craft skills in a bid to improve their livelihoods and create employment,” she said.
Locals will display their craft and sell to locals as well as tourists from South Africa, Netherlands and Canada.
Nkayi Craft Centre is working in partnership with Lupane Women Centre to fully penetrate these markets
“Our rich craft skills need to be preserved and passed on to the next generation in a business model that adds value to our local resource,” said Ms Mlotshwa