South Africa // Limpopo //

Tsonga and Venda arts and crafts


The Venda and Tsonga regions have established a strong reputation in arts and crafts. The best known of these are clay pots distinctively marked with angular designs in graphite silver and ochre. Also growing in status are woodcarvings, ranging from abstract to practical, although, while the best of these can be imaginative and bold, many are unfinished and overpriced. You’ll also come across tapestries, fabrics, basketwork and painting. Finding your way to these craft villages can be quite an adventure, as they are widely scattered and the roads are poor, so the Ribolla Tourism Association, behind the Swiss mission hospital in Elim (Mon–Fri 8.30am–4.30pm; 015 556 4262 or 072 2354543, [email protected]), has set up a demarcated art route in the area, and hands out free maps of the route. It also has knowledgeable guides to take you around.

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