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CDI partners with National Arts Festival on Virtual Village Green

Friday, 05 June 2020  
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The buzzing fair at the heart of the annual National Arts Festival (NAF), the Village Green, has this year become an online treasure trove of crafted wares and savvy finds.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 National Arts Festival has gone fully online in 2020 – the Festival is currently underway and runs until 5 July 2020. The Festival is 11 days of a curated programme of online creativity – pre-recorded and live events, short films, virtual art exhibitions, jam sessions, interactive events, webinars and more – that spans the South African and international arts scene. There is also a pay-per-view platform available, where the public can buy tickets to view and support works by a wide range of artists.

For the Virtual Village Green, there are now dozens of digital stalls online for the craft producers and designers, creators and resellers that have become part of the NAF family over the years, as well as many new traders to the fold.

The Virtual Green is housed on the Festival’s website and presents some of the much-loved Village Green finds like woolly beanies, handmade jewellery, paintings and carvings, fabrics, clothes and more. The Eastern Cape’s showcase of local craft and design forms part of the offering too – expect intricate beadwork, colourful traditional clothing, exquisitely carved bowls, vases, children’s toys, and much more.

Says National Arts Festival CEO, Monica Newton, “We decided that the show must go on this year, which has meant that the Festival has had a 360-degree pivot into the digital realm. It’s been a steep learning curve for all of us but we are determined to bring our audiences a very special experience and what would the Festival be without the Village Green to shop all your souvenirs.”

The Festival has partnered with the Craft and Design Institute to bring traders from across South Africa into the space through links to their Peek pages Shoppers wanting to buy from craft producers and designers will be able to transact directly with traders to ensure a personalised experience.

Since its launch in 2017, CDI’s online digital platform has grown significantly. It is dedicated to showcasing beautiful craft and design products made in South Africa and has been made possible thanks to funding by the national Department of Small Business Development. Over a quarter of visitors to Peek are from overseas, with visitors from the US, France, UK, Canada, and Germany amongst other countries frequenting the site to find products. Currently there are 528 businesses to date registered on the platform showcasing over 3 790 products.

“We are excited about this opportunity with the National Arts Festival on the Virtual Village Green. Through Peek we are raising awareness with consumers and buyers to ensure local businesses continue to find leads, particularly with physical market opportunities constrained. We hope that South Africans will show their love of local and take time to connect with these local makers online,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO at the CDI.

Newton points out that traders have been as negatively affected by the cancellations of public gatherings as artists have. “Many traders are dependent on festivals and markets across the country to sell their wares and their income has been severely impacted. This is the time to support local small businesses and we would like to urge Festival visitors to pop in online and buy something – even if it is something small.”

The programme will take place entirely on the National Arts Festival website It will consist of a daily curated programme of shows, workshops and events; and a special virtual fringe section with multiple performances to choose from.


Visit the Virtual Village Green to find local products at


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