SWAKOPMUND - Michelle //Inixas, recently appointed the Coordinator for the National Arts and Craft for the Community Skills and Development Foundation in Namibia, Cosdef, is positive that unemployment, especially amongst the youth, will be reduced in substantial numbers through short craft courses.
Then at a later date and once the craft centre is up and running, through longer craft and art courses. “We aim for only pure Namibian crafts and our target market is indeed the unemployed youth and other marginalised groups …” //Inixas says no entry qualifications are needed for people who are interested, and the Art & Craft centre has a leather production (sandals, bags, key rings, belts and wallets).
They are in the process of starting up a textile and glass recycling unit to be hopefully operational at the beginning of 2013. Situated next to the OB Davids construction on entering the town, the Centre will be up and running from May 2014 and is funded by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
“Along with our training and production units we will also have a main Cosdef shop where we will sell sourced crafts of high and unique quality as well as our own products nationwide.” Eight incubation units for previous Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) trainees, eight to ten retails shops as well as a coffee shop are envisaged to be fully functional. She further explains that when phase two and three are completed at the new centre, it will also house a gallery and amphitheatre to host shows, storytelling and drama therefore fulfilling the vision to have a complex where Art is executed in all forms and creativity.
The Cosdef Arts and Craft Centre currently offer courses in beadwork, printing techniques on textiles as well as embroidery and embellishments. The leather courses cater for handmade as well as machine products.
Leather patches with embroidery were also introduced as well as beauty products, where they learn to make their own soaps, lotions and shampoos. “We also want to introduce Art classes – once again concentrating on the youth. Currently most high schools in Namibia do not offer art as a subject and we hope to introduce approved courses where the youth can pursue their artistic talents either as an accredited course or just to learn more drawing, painting and design skills to help them in their chosen creative career field.
“We have held in conjunction with V-AN a lino printing course early this year, which turned out to be very successful when we later had a small exhibition at the French Alliance. These are the type of courses we would like to go forward with and if there are any art teachers or artists willing to dedicate some of their time to the community, they should please contact us. We would love to implement some short art courses.”
//Inixas says that their courses don’t always end up in direct employment but help in subsidising their trainees’ income or to assist when they start their own businesses. “At the moment we are very happy to see that nearly eight of our former leather trainees are working in the costume and art department of the Fury Road Production being filmed here in Swakopmund and surrounding areas.”
“We hope to help them form a production line of their own once the movie is completed so they can use all the creativity they have learnt through the experience of working closely with people from all over the world. We hope they are inspired to create a unique Namibian product we can market and sell for them.” Interested people can contact the trainer at the Centre at 064-406122 or 081 334 4701.