Traditional street craft from South Africa

Traditional street craft from South Africa

Handicraft items in Cape Town reflect the South African people's ability to turn scarcity into reusability

Achal Prabhala
August 17 , 2014
Less than 1 Min Read

I bought this chicken (ZAR 50 for two), and their cousin the flamingo (ZAR 100) at African Image (, a cheerful little shop in Cape Town that does deluxe versions of traditional street craft. 

In a country where traditions have been confounded by settlers, seekers and slaves since the 17th century, tradition is not what it used to be. South African street crafts reflect the recent circumstances of the majority of South Africans; they turn scarcity into reusability, and ingenuity into an art form. The ubiquitous emblem of South African traditional art is the wire sculpture — you can get most anything in the form of malleable aluminium wire these days. The style constantly changes, and these animals — made entirely out of recycled plastic bags — are the current fad. 


Now I only wish I had discovered the joys of owning a pink flamingo earlier.

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