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The !X & Khwe San Community (via The !X & Khwe Common Property Association) will open the KAMATOKA MONTEBELLO shop:

Where: 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands, Cape Town

Time: 18:00

Date: Thursday, 3 August 2000

Guest Speaker: Minister of Trade and Industry, Alec Erwin

Special Guests: Artists & Potters and members of the San Community

This is the first shop of The !X & Khwe to engage in the direct marketing of articles manufactured by the San Community of Schmidtsdrift (Northern Cape Province). In future, works of art, various textiles, ceramics, carpentry as well as traditional household articles will be for sale at the shop. The !X & Khwe San Community acts as owner of the enterprise which will concentrate mainly on exhibiting and selling of the articles, with all proceeds returned to the community and artists.

The outlet will be a place from which the community of Cape Town and The !X & Khwe will be able to form links aided by various technologies that both communities have embraced. With use of the Internet and other modern communication methods The !X & Khwe will be able to track and monitor sales at the shop thereby making the gap between their home and work far smaller. The enterprise will be the centre of a circle encompassing hunter-gatherer communities with their own commercial enterprise, web-site and electronic banking facilities. It will also give the people of Cape Town and tourists visiting the shop access to the San culture, which has until now been lost to the majority of South Africans and visitors.

The !X & Khwe Communities regard this opportunity as a new era in which the skills of marketing, distributing and direct selling in the commercial industry can be learnt. It is hoped that this project will be used as a working example for future projects where Land Reform has led to communities being able to sustain themselves through various methods of economic empowerment. The outlet shows how arts and crafts have become a positive force for change in the rural areas of South Africa. In many parts of the country, communities use a variety of materials, local history and culture as resources for building their micro-economies. This project indicates that communities around the country are harnessing their initiative, vision and skill to provide income, security and a sustainable future for themselves.

The opening of The Kamatoka Shop and the move to Platfontein has opened up new possibilities for The !X & Khwe. Through access to modern technology, products can be tested for marketability, while a permanent home allows production to continue unhindered. This will lead to an increase in employment and a market-driven attitude. Already through their artwork and crafts, The !X & Khwe have gained attention on the international art market with products being sold abroad. The opening of the outlet in Cape Town will make their work more accessible for local collectors.

Awards from various quarters such as the House & Leisure Award for ceramics and two FNB Craft Awards have already been won. This kind of publicity has helped The !X & Khwe establish themselves within both the local and international craft arenas.

There are various obvious positive spin-offs to the project and the shop. The urban location of the shop links the rural project to a community with buying power. Small business owners, makers of craft and other object d'art do not have to leave their rural context in order to earn an income. Eco-tourism benefits from the San’s return to Cape Town since visitors as well as locals have easy access to a world that was previously not reachable. The shop provides a mutually beneficial bridge between two very different communities, thus providing a model for the rest of the country.

Artwork can be viewed at the following web-site: http://eventmanage.co.za/xuart


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