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BELOVED and social cause

Here at beloved.ae we want to help those in need and therefore choose to support companies who share our views and help make things happen. How LOVEly that we can enjoy the products we buy whilst donating to charity! In this section you will find information on the establishments that we support.

We start off with the gorgeous, high quality beaded items that you will find under the ‘African Art’ category.

PROFILE OF THE AFRICAN ART CENTRE

An organisation of excellence which changes the lives of artists and crafters by empowering them through innovative skills training, development and promotion”

During the past 50 years the African Art Centre has provided thousands of artists and craftspeople with opportunities for self-employment and the realization of their talents. Originally a project of the South African Institute of Race Relations, the Durban African Art Centre has, since 1984, operated as an autonomous, non-profit organization. For the first three decades of its existence, it was guided by the late Jo Thorpe, who virtually single-handed, put Durban on the map as an important centre of black artistic development.

Today operating from premises in Florida Road, Durban the African Art Centre has adapted to the changed political, economic and artistic landscape and has expanded its operations. Through various marketing initiatives and with the assistance of our sponsors and supporters, we make every attempt to assists artists and crafters to tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets. We persistently provide a supportive environment and direct numerous individuals towards financial empowerment and self sustainability. Our shop and gallery in Florida Road allows us to professionally showcase and promote the works of artists and crafters on an ongoing basis.

The number of artists and crafters ‘discovered’ has increased exponentially over the past fifty years as have the returns they have realized through their talents. Development and training programs have grown in number and scope and have reached ever widening groups of individuals and communities, both in the geographical and sociological sense. Many African Art Centre artists have achieved international acclaim, including Azaria Mbatha, Tito Zungu, Gabisele Nkosi, William Zulu, Trevor Makhoba and Reuben Ndwandwe – however, thousands have had the quality of their lives dramatically improved through the recognition of their talents.

We work with some of the most economically disadvantaged people, who have limited access to capital, technology and resources and reach out to the poorest communities, rural men and women, the disabled, the unemployed, youth, HIV/AIDS affected persons and frustrated artists craving recognition. Our interventions assist these people in maturing and progressing to a point where they are able to produce high quality, innovative products on an ongoing basis.

The African Art Centre has a reputation, within South Africa and internationally for supplying specialized, high quality products and we are proud to be recognized as the longest surviving South African organization involved in the development and promotion of the work of artists and craft-workers. Every purchase made from the African Art Centre provides income and employment for more than 600 artists and crafters currently supported by the Centre.  

Our Objectives: 

The African Art Centre is a Section 21, non-governmental, not for profit organization that contributes to the development, promotion and appreciation of the works of artists and craftspeople. We do this by:

  • providing innovative and creative skills development and training

  • actively discovering, encouraging and nurturing works of creativity, originality and of the highest quality

  • providing an outlet for the exhibition, sale and dispatch of artists’ and crafters’ work, based on the principles of fair trade

  • assisting both young and established artists and crafters to become self-supporting by accessing funding for training, development, exhibitions and publicity

  • communicating and documenting traditional and contemporary trends in art and craft

  • preserving our cultural heritage

Our work is underpinned by the following principles:

  • the right of all people to self-expression

  • the right of all people to working opportunities in order to earn a living

  • the right of all people to respect and dignity

  • the principles of fair trade

  • the principle of nation building through the protection of our cultural heritage

Brief History of the African Art Centre Association

During the past 53 years the African Art Centre has provided thousands of artists and craftspeople with opportunities for self-employment and the realization of their talents. Originally a programme of the South African Institute of Race Relations (1959), the Durban African Art Centre has, since 1984, operated as an autonomous, non-profit organization. Since its inception, The African Art Centre has successfully facilitated and implemented relevant, strategic development programmes, mentored and equipped thousands of artists and crafters with pertinent business skills. We persistently provide a supportive environment and direct numerous individuals towards financial empowerment and sustainability. For the past decade we have encouraged and empowered hundreds of communities with knowledge, skills, strategies and self-confidence to thrive and to maintain a sustainable existence. 

Today operating from premises in Florida Road, Durban the African Art Centre has adapted to the changed political, economic and artistic landscape and expanded its operations. It is proud to be recognized as one of the longest surviving South African organizations involved in the development and marketing of the work of previously marginalised artists and craft-workers. The number of artists and crafters we work with has increased exponentially over the past fifty three years as have the returns they have realized through their talents.  

Development and training programs have grown in number and scope and have reached ever widening groups of individuals and communities, both in the geographical and sociological sense. Many African Art Centre artists and crafter have achieved international acclaim, including Azaria Mbatha, Tito Zungu, Gabisele Nkosi, William Zulu, Trevor Makhoba and Reuben Ndwandwe; however, thousands have had the quality of their lives dramatically improved through the recognition of their genre.   

We work with some of the most economically disadvantaged people, who have limited access to capital, technology and resources and reach out to the poorest communities, rural men and women, the disabled, the unemployed, youth and HIV/AIDS affected persons. Our interventions assist them in maturing and progressing to a point where they are able to produce high quality, innovative products on an ongoing basis. Through various marketing initiatives, every attempt is made to assist artists and crafters to tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets. Our shop and gallery in Florida Road allows us to professionally showcase and promote the works of artists and crafters on an ongoing basis.

What makes us unique is that we are able to offer the whole package from training, to promotion to market access and opportunities of income generation and employment.   

Main Objectives of the African Art Centre Organisation 

The African Art Centre is a not for profit Section 21, Public Benefit organization that contributes to the development, promotion and appreciation of the works of artists and craftspeople from KwaZulu Natal. We are one of the longest surviving organisations of its kind in the country and one of the KwaZulu Natal’s leading development agencies. We partner with communities and individuals from at least 22 municipal districts in KwaZulu Natal and we provide them with innovative and creative skills development so that they can become self-supporting and earn a decent living. We assist grandmothers, mother and girls to create craft products of the highest quality and originality and we assist both young and old artists and crafters to participate in the economy of this country.

 Our work is underpinned by the following principles:

  • the right of all people to working opportunities in order to earn a living

  • the right of all people to respect and dignity

  • the principles of fair trade

  • the principle of nation building through the protection of our cultural heritage

The African Art Centre has aligned itself with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000, specifically, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and empowering women, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development.

The rate of unemployment is an ongoing problem for South Africa, with the highest rate of unemployment being reported to be amongst African women at 47%. KwaZulu Natal women face a number of issues including a high poverty rate, low educational qualifications, and inadequate provision of basic needs services and are limited in most decision making structures within their homes and community. Our projects impact on women advancement which improves their lives, provides markets for locally produced goods, redistributes income between men and women, provides employment opportunities and gender equality and stimulates rural economy.

Our intentions are for our projects to assist both young and established crafters to become self-supporting by means of pertinent training, mentorship and development and continued evaluation and communication. Our interventions aim to make long term and sustainable changes in the lives of our beneficiaries, augment crafter capacity, produce new cultural entrepreneurs and improve and strengthen already established cultural entrepreneurs in the region. Our projects aim to build audiences, increase sales of craft products in mainstream retail markets (via our shop and gallery, expo’s, trade fairs and exhibitions) and aim to assist in building the identity of genuine craft from KwaZulu Natal and increase consumer awareness of distinct hand-crafted traditions. We aim to provide sustainable community development support to poor communities and enable them to undertake sustainable community development action resulting in their improved standard of living.  

The African Art Centre aims to provide the following:   

  • Interventions which will secure long-term viability and income generating craft.

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and generate employment for artists and crafter in rural areas by assisting individuals and communities with self-help programmes which will provide a sustainable income.

  • Build an audience for art and craft by providing an outlet for promoting and selling of crafts people’s work Investigate new markets and increase export of SA craft products

  • Continue to preserve our cultural heritage, promote cultural diversity and build a heritage resource of art and craft

Sage Kitchen under the ‘brand’ category have send us their delicious gourmet pots with a small bangle around the lids. These bangles have also been hand made by the inhabitants of a township


 

The folk involved with the making of the bracelets all live in shacks in Walmer Township. They are the breadwinners, providing not only for their children but also for their extended families. They have no running water, no electricity and use an outside bucket toilet system. They use paraffin stoves to boil water on, for cooking and for heating up their washing water. Walking at least a kilometre to the nearest water point for their daily needs. Most importantly, they remain positive every day. Working towards making a difference for their children.

We also support a charity called Axum Africa. The beautiful baskets that we ‘hamper’ some of the gifts in are made by the villagers that Axum support. You can also find these baskets for sale separately under ‘Hand Made’ in the ‘Merchandise’ category.

 

About Axum

Axum is a town of approximately 45,000 in the north of Ethiopia. Axum has an amazing history, having been the "home town" of the Queen of Sheba.

The Queen of Sheba had a son by King Solomon of Jerusalem and it is told that this son, Menelik 1, carried the Holy Ark of the Covenant from King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem to Axum nearly three thousand years ago.

It is believed by local residents that the Ark still resides in an Axum church.There are many other very interesting stories about this town and it's amazing past and as one reads these stories it is hard to imagine that they are not more well known to the entire world.

It is also hard to imagine what poverty has now overtaken this once magnificent civilization. After what we have seen, heard and read, we indeed feel very fortunate and privileged to live the life that we now live here in Dubai. Of course, we are often aware of our good fortune, but to put it into this harsh perspective is really quite astonishing.

About us:

strong>Harego Ingers

Harego was born in Axum, Ethiopia and moved to Sweden with her family when she was nine years old.  She attended Abraha Wa Asbaha school in Axum for two years.  Many of Harego’s extended family members still reside in Axum. 

Harego’s background in Sweden includes work in the area of child psychology as well as the airline industry and the performing arts.

Harego lived in Dubai from October 2002 till June 2007. She is now living back in Stockholm with her husband and two children, where she works with SAS Airlines.

Harego continues her work with the Axum project from Sweden.

Karen Spiteri

Karen was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communications and has worked in the field of Graphic Design and Marketing for the past 20 years.

Karen has been living in Dubai since 2002 with her husband and two children and currently does freelance design and contract work as well as consulting.

About the project:

Harego returned for a visit to Ethiopia for the first time in 24 years in November 2004. She came back to Dubai with stories of her town and in particular, a description of the school in which she was first educated.

She was saddened by the state of the school and the community as a whole. Although the people of the town of Axum now have enough food to sustain themselves, they are lacking in almost everything else. It was during our conversation about her trip that we realized that we may actually be able to do something to help this town, through improving the school and therefore giving the children a better chance of improving their lives. We were both at a point in our lives where we had the time, energy and resources available and felt that it was our time to give something back to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Although neither of us have any prior experience in this type of work, with the help of our friends, acquaintances and like-minded businesses and organizations we know that we can make a difference to the people of Axum.

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