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

Friday, 13 December 2019  
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After a successful first phase of training last year, the CDI this November concluded the second phase of training for a group of craft producers who are part of Robben Island Museum’s Memorabilia/Craft Centre initiative. This is a project funded by the National Department of Tourism to stimulate locally produced curios within tourist attractions.

The initiative has empowered 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 Ex-Political Prisoners from Robben Island.


In 2017 CDI was appointed to do the first phase which involved training the identified individuals in craft production and basic entrepreneurial skills. The first phase 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 the CDI’s Product Support space to develop new and unique products.

The second phase, starting this year, saw CDI being appointed to implement a six-month long intervention with the 15 individuals who have formed a cooperative known as “Unshackled Craft Cooperative”.

According to Rosemary Cooke, who manages the CDI’s business and creativity training activities: “The craft producers over the past six months participated in individual consultations in the CDI Product Support space to work on their products to refine their prototypes. They were then were paired off with mentoring businesses who are CDI members with well established businesses for some on-site practical learning. They also took part in a financial management workshop in September; and they had the opportunity to participate in Product Review Panels with local retailers. Thereafter, one-on-one consultations took place to finalise the products and pricelists per the feedback by the review panellists.”

A complete product catalogue has also been developed and handed to Robben Island Museum and Tourvest, the retail service providers of the Museum. A final close off report marked the close of the project, and the participants were presented with certificates of participation.


“This is a programme that Robben Island Museum and the Department of Tourism pride ourselves with as it addresses elements of sustainable tourism which is informed by making a low impact on the environment; and incorporating cultural and heritage elements in various ways to stimulate the tourism economy,” says Morongoa Ramaboa, Spokesperson for Robben Island Museum.


“Making such projects a success required continuous engagements with informed participants and stakeholders, one of those being the CDI who have contributed to the skills development of each crafter. We’re satisfied with how our history is being told through momentous curios.” 



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