We all know that the words we use can promote the value of something or diminish it. We also know that a product can be deemed valuable in the hands of one person, but less valuable in the hands of another.
I met Ma Eunice Jabulani as a young craft developer in 2002. I was reacquainted with her in 2016, 14 years after we first met. What struck me when I revisited her area, was that not much had changed. Over those years, craft contracts came and went; sometimes ending abruptly, with no other means of income to fill the gap. Yet, over those years, these woven baskets have paid for: a battery to charge phones, a solar panel, bricks for a new room, college fees for a child, and a myriad other necessities.
In the field of craft development – it is often the creator, the “crafter”, whose work is undervalued and underpaid. While they are an essential part of the value chain, they are often the weakest. And by weakest, I mean: vulnerable, expendable, and generally, the poorest. That same product, in the hands of (a reseller) one who can weave a compelling tale of provenance, accompanied by glossy images and online presence, can increase the value of that piece exponentially. Thirty (30) % of earnings from prints sold of this artwork will go to developing workshops on income generation strategies for the KwaJobe craft group.