Contemporary embroidery work expressing Pedi stories
Mogalakwena Craft Art
Founded in 1994 by Elbe Coetsee, the purpose of Mogalakwena is to create employment opportunities for previously disadvantaged women and young school dropouts living in villages under the authority of traditional Northern Sotho tribal chief, Kibi, in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The whole concept encompasses a game reserve, a lodge, a research center and the Craft Village located near the lodge and conceived as an artist’s retreat where designers and artists can spend several weeks developing a specific project with the option of involving the women from the Craft Village, sharing with other artists, and enjoying the breathtaking landscape of this region.
The idea behind the craft village evolved from Elbe’s relationship with Pedi women who communicated with her visually using embroidery to narrate tales of their daily life, the food of the region, their healing practices, leisure and sport, dress and adornment, education and work. Their embroidered documents were eventually gathered into art books that are now part of collections around the world and valued for their beautiful style, their bold expressiveness and the tactile quality of the work.
Today, the Craft Village provides a source of income for 40 women that walk two hours to and from their villages to arrive at this oasis of creativity, where they sing and share their life and culture with artists and designers from all over the world. They work on limited edition pieces that involve bead work, basket weaving, clay and embroidery. Sales happen at the village’s shop at Mogalakwena and at their gallery in Cape Town. Some goods are also sold through international retailers who are looking for authenticity, quality and soul.
Research Centre & Craft Art Village
Tel +27(0)21 424 7488
Head Office & Gallery: 3 Church street
Cape Town, South Africa