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iNkanyezi – empowering crafters

January 30, 2013

iNkanyezi,(Shining Star) the second in the series of commissioned decorated ¾ life size rhino sculptures, not only is an ambassador in the fight for the preservation of the rhino, but it also personifies empowerment for community crafters.

eThekwini Community Foundation (eCF) is adding its voice to the global battle cry to preserve South Africa’s natural heritage and to this end has formally joined Project Rhino KZN, and has secured a second  community craft commission rhino which is being sponsored by the U.S. Consulate in Durban and the Wildlands Conservation Trust.

Based on the success of Yenza a nearly life-size resin rhino, inspired by the Wildlands Rhino Parade and decorated by a collective of crafters in 2012, iNkanyezi has been commissioned by the eThekwini Community Foundation. The eCF is a proactive, not-for-profit public benefit organisation, strategically aligned to the eThekwini Municipality. iNkanyenzi is inspired by the diminutive mythical national treasure golden rhino, Mapungubwe.

The first rhino, Yenza, can be seen in the foyer of the municipal library in the Durban City Hall. She was designed and made by a collective of craft organisations last year. Craft NGOs are also  jointly working on the second rhino, iNkanyezi, but this time, some of the crafters have gained sufficient experience by working on Yenza, to now be able to do  the design, create  the templates and be part of the project management themselves.

Patricia Mchunu and Gabi Mnathula from Ubunye Crafters have graduated from being craft practioners on Yenza to being involved in the creative, management, design and logistics process for iNkanyezi.

iNkanyezi is the perfect vehicle to  build capacity and to allow the crafters to see the big picture and in so doing, build up  their repertoire of skills and entrepreneurial experience,” says Robin Opperman who is heading the project management team.

iNkanyezi will be decorated by seven craft collectives, pairing established craft organisations with emerging craft practioners. Robin Opperman and Jackie Sewpersad from Umcebo Design (who will project-manage the process) will be mentoring eThekwini Street Crafters; Community Resource Centre Sydenham will work with TWA’s Room 13; and Ukhamba Craft and Ubunye Co-Operative will jointly be mentoring students in metal work from  Chatsworth.

iNkanyezi is currently under construction and will be completed within the next two months.

“Wildlands cannot wait to see another rhino sculpture be transformed into an ‘artistic creation’ through the awesome efforts of eCF, art-makers and crafters,” says Lauren Laing, Marketing Manager at Wildlands. “Yenza got a lot of attention, so let’s see if her cousin causes the same sort of stir,” grins Laing.

“We like to work with like-minded art-makers and crafters. It makes a bigger impact when you work on bigger items together,” said Debbie Heustice Director of info4africa who works with Ubunye Crafters.

“Besides, there is not much use being in a melting pot, unless you melt!” said the eCF’s Kathryn Kure. For more information, contact Kathryn Kure at 031 311 2044 / 083 252 0992 or email: /

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