Developing CraftArt businesses in the Makuleke Community

Developing CraftArt businesses in the Makuleke Community

“The Tourism Conservation Fund is thrilled to finalise the first partnership contract with Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge. This marks the culmination of much work researching, establishing and promoting the Inclusive Business Linkage Fund. It serves as a vindication of our vision to incentivise private operators to develop commercial linkages with entrepreneurs who have been historically excluded from their supply chain, in the process building a more inclusive local wildlife-tourism economy in which economic benefits are more widely shared.

Madi a Thavha is a leader in the SA craft market and a widely respected champion of high-quality traditional crafts and their access to high-value markets. This partnership sets the benchmark for what is possible and lays the foundation for many more such partnerships to be established. In the process we hope to help transform rural communities around our wildlife areas into a source of high quality, high-value crafts for the benefit of poor people who have limited alternative livelihood or enterprise opportunities” says CEO, Paul Zille.

The Makuleke Community – Pafuri, Kruger National Park

The Makuleke Concession, ancestral home of the Makuleke community, is located in the Pafuri region,  between the Limpopo and the Luvuvhu Rivers in the northern section of the Kruger National Park. This is an extremely poor area with limited economic potential beyond tourism, which is reflected in high unemployment rates and limited enterprise opportunity.

The Makuleke community, consisting of mainly Tsonga people, has a strong cultural and craft tradition. Many indigenous skills such as beadwork, traditional wall paintings and weaving grasses still exist but are not used anymore because the economic benefits are not appreciated.

The origins of the partnership with the Tourism Conservation Fund lie in the strong, heritage-based arts and craft skills and the untapped creative marketing opportunities for the Makuleke community.

Through a partnership between the Makuleke community and Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge, and with matched funding provided by the Tourism Conservation Fund, the project will support 15 newly identified artisans to establish and run a commercial CraftArt business equipped to produce and sell high quality products in high value craft markets from which they were historically excluded.


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