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CDI launches second phase of skills training for Robben Island Museum’s craft project

Friday, 28 June 2019  
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After a successful first phase of training which concluded last year, the CDI is now providing additional training to a group of craft producers who are part of Robben Island Museum’s Memorabilia/Craft Centre initiative as part of a National Department of Tourism funded initiative to stimulate locally produced curios within attractions.


The initiative is empowering 15 individuals to produce and sell souvenirs and memorabilia made from organic materials that originate from the Island that are also inspired by its rich history. The beneficiaries of the initiative are from around Cape Town’s previously disadvantaged communities such as Langa and Khayelitsha, with some being spouses of Robben Island Ex-Political Prisoners. As part of the project, the CDI was appointed by the Museum in 2017 to train the identified individuals in craft production and basic entrepreneurial skills.

 

That first phase of training was designed to introduce participants to the basics of starting and managing a small business. The training also included time on Robben Island to introduce the group, specifically those not living on the Island, to the history and context of the project. This allowed them to familiarise themselves with the materials they could use for products. They also spent time in our Product Prototyping Facility to develop new and unique products which included jewellery, artworks, dishtowels and serviettes, hand-poured candles and crocheted products. It’s important to note that each product needed to tell its own story about the Island.

 

Now in the second phase, the project is underway with a six-month long intervention with the 15 individuals who have since formed a cooperative known as “Unshackled Craft Cooperative”.

 

According to Rosemary Cooke, the CDI's training coordinator for the Western Cape, this phase will further support their business and offer product development skills.

 

We have designed a series of training interventions which focus on craft production and technical skills which will assist the participants to modify, refine and further develop their existing prototypes – and take the products to the next level of market readiness,” she says.

 

“This phase of the project will include production training so that they can sharpen their making skills and refine their prototypes, as well as deepen their understanding of the product manufacturing process.”

 

This phase was preceded by an on-site study to ascertain how favourable each product was with Robben Island Museum visitors and through Robben island Museum’s social media platforms.

 

“We are quite excited to have this project as one of our meaningful initiatives in contributing to community development and to the visitor experience. This means that having industry experts such as CDI at the helm is key in making this project a success and having unique souvenirs that depict our rich history well,” shares Morongoa Ramaboa, Spokesperson for Robben Island Museum.

 

In the next few months the project will also include a series of product review panels, which will comprise representatives of retail, Robben Island Museum and the CDI; as well as a mentorship component which will run over four weeks.

 

“Participants will have the opportunity to work in production spaces of small businesses that are members of the CDI and who are developing products similar to those of the participants. These business owners and their production staff will share with the participants their own experiences and insights which will not only impact on the making skills of the participants but will also give them a real production experience; building their practical understanding of product production requirements,” adds Rose.



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