KAGUNI VILLAGE - Apart from plenty of fish and wild fruit, the Kavango Region is known to be the home of clay pots, woodcarvings and exquisite basket weaving.
Handmade river clay pots, hand-made by locals are nicely decorated and displayed along the main road leading to Rundu from the Mururani animal disease checkpoint.
Abel Negongo has been making clay pots since he was a little boy.
He told journalists during a recent media visit to Kaguni Village that he collects clay in big bags that he scoops from the banks of the Kavango River.
This process takes about three to four days. After collecting he charters a car to take his consignment to the village.
He then puts the clay in a bath filled with water to soak for a week.
After the clay is well soaked he rolls it out into shapes that take time, and forms it into the different shapes and sizes.
He produces about three pots in a day. The items are then placed in a hole in the ground before he places wood on top of the hole before setting fire to it.
The baking process takes about up to five hours. When the items cool down he then removes it from the hole and starts drawing beautiful lines and textures, and colours it with natural dyes.
“We have some of the best African basket weavers and wood carvers in the southern parts of Africa,” he said.
Clay pots are also very popular in these parts of the country. Locals in the Kavango use it to fill it with water in order to have cold water.
“It also serves as plates for serving food when guests arrive. We can make some of the most beautiful items around here,” he said.
Getting a market for the finished items is somewhat a problem as they stay far from town. Moving the items by car sometimes causes a loss as the pots are delicate and can break easily when transporting them by the dozen.
Most of his clients are people that stay in the region and want to buy items for home use.
He is optimistic as the local tourism establishments and craft centres like the Ncumcara Craft Shop normally buy items to stock up their stores.