info4africa have continued to work alongside the Co-operative, providing guidance, mentorship and facilitating collaborations with local craft and design partners. Instrumental in this regard has been a growing partnership with Umcebo Design, led by Robin Opperman and assisted by Jackie Sewpersad. They have applied their years of experience in basic education, art and design to upskill a small group of the Co-operative’s crafters. Critical in this process has been our insistence that the craft group look to developing new, niche items rather than competing to make and market beaded or other craft items in KwaZulu-Natal’s already much contested traditional craft sector.
The Ubunye Co-Operative, info4africa and Umcebo Design held regular craft and design workshops throughout the year and launched a new range entitled “Ubunye Hot Pots” in November 2012. The range has sold well locally and has been marketed through local gallery shops, boutiques and a local school art expo. Active on-line and social media channels, including Facebook and the Co-operative’s website continue to play an important role in sustaining the visibility of the Co-operative, its activities and its product range. We are currently in the process of developing a second phase of Hot Pots and an exciting new range entitled “Wild Things”. All product development has an environmental focus in line with the mission of the Co-operative as a heritage and eco-tourism income generation project for the Zululand area.