In 1994, Dr. Elbé Coetsee established The Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation (MCADF).
The creative hub of MCADF, Mogalakwena Craft Art Village, is situated in the remote north-western region of the Limpopo Province, South Africa, thirty five kilometres from the confluence of the Mogalakwena and Limpopo rivers. The Craft Art Village is within walking distance of the neighbouring villages under the authority of traditional chief Kibi in the Blouberg district of the Limpopo Province. This area is home to more than 1,5M Northern Sotho speaking people.
MCADF, not only assists in the restoration, development and promotion of traditional craft art skills, but also supports the economic and social up-liftment of the local Northern Sotho community. The aim is to establish a sustainable development program, employment opportunities, transfer skills and preserve indigenous culture.
Dr. Elbé Coetsee holds a PhD from the University of Pretoria and conducted research on the demographic characteristics and entrepreneurial attitudes of South African craft artists, for which she received academic honorary colours.
She is a promoter of craft art and social entrepreneurship, and has an unwavering passion for the quality handmade objects. She acquired a sound knowledge and understanding of the very essence of the craft art industry in South Africa.
In 2002, she authored the book, Craft Art in South Africa, published by Struik and voted onto the Publisher’s Choice List at Exclusive Books. In 2015, her follow up book, Craft Art in South Africa: Creative Intersections (published by Jonathan Ball) was released.
MCADF exhibits at Mogalakwena Studio at Montebello Craft & Design Centre in Newlands (Cape Town) and at Cape Connection (59 Garsfontein road) in Pretoria East.
MCADF forms part of the Mogalakwena Group, which also comprises of the Mogalakwena River Lodge, the Artist’s Retreat, and the Mogalakwena Research Centre.
MCADF currently employs 16 women from the local community. The Foundation specialises in the training of multiple skills - embroidery, bead work, candle making, sewing, knitting, crochet, basket weaving, pottery, basic computer literacy, practical first aid courses, AIDS awareness & care, children’s art workshops and basic principles of cultural tourism. It focusses on traditional hand crafts and contemporary design to create unique artworks as well as interior accessories.
To promote traditional craft art inherent in communities, which have become dormant due to lack of infrastructure, lack of funding and/or lack of market opportunities.
To market uniquely designed craft art products in selected South African and international retail outlets.
To document contemporary oral culture in the Blouberg area of Limpopo.
To create sustainable, value-adding employment opportunities for disadvantaged and/or unemployed women living in the villages adjacent to the Craft Art Village in Limpopo.
To promote the restoration of craft art skills in communities and enable more members of disadvantaged communities to become self-sufficient and less dependent on social grants and pensions.
To nurture and develop creativity of children through workshops.
Over the past 23 years, the Foundation enthusiastically created opportunities for its craft artists to interact with both South African and international artists and designers; as well as to apply their creative skills in producing unique high-quality craft art works.
We have worked and collaborated with renowned artists, such as Nicholas Hlobo, Willem Boshoff, Shany van den Berg, Colbert Mashile, Karel Nel, Rose Shakinovsky, Claire Gavronsky, Clementina van der Walt, Margy Malan; designers, Haldane Martin and Paola Lenti to create the Zulu Mama and Afra chairs respectively, and Marcella Echavarria; architects Etienne Bruwer (www.greenhaus.co.za) and Wynand Wilsenach; photographers, Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht.
Since its inception, the MCADF has trained more than 250 craft artists; held more than 100 craft art workshops and presented creative workshops to more than 200 pupils.
We present a variety of creative activities at the Craft Art Village including guided visits, quality shopping, lunch on the Artist’s Retreat pool deck and afternoon tea, coffee or champagne in the lush garden.
Regular workshops are hosted, that is, embroidery, beading, sewing, basket weaving, children’s art, screen-printing, AIDS awareness and practical first aid (artists materials and canvasses are included). All of the activities are tailored to suit guest requirements. For more information about our activities or workshops, please contact us.
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