Makesa is the most comprehensive online portal specialising in the development and promotion of South African Artisans, Makers and Crafts people.

Our aim is to provide a platform for Craftsmen and women, Artisans and Makers of functional and beautiful products. For expedience we refer to the collective as Makers. Our bias is unashamedly towards the small to medium scale production. We recognize the traditional skills of the African and European craftsman and it is our wish that the two worlds can evolve into something unique, profound but more importantly provides a sustainable income to the thousands of people who are involved in Making, in South Africa. The balance between Africa and Europe style and knowledge, when achieved, is exquisite. Our aim is to identify and influence products; That speak of Africa; not shout it.

The reason we do this, is because few people or organizations are. We believe that in the last 24 years, the South African government has failed to realize the potential of the sector, we call; “The Creative Manufacturing Sector”. In short, they (Government) have relegated this potential into a sector, called; Craft. This was done by the then Department of Art, Culture, Science and Technology, now Department of Art and Culture. In 24 years, no policy was every promulgated, however the opinions of the processes: ACTAG, Cultural Industries Growth Strategy and the work of the ill fated CreateSA percolated to become the modus operandi of not only DAC, but also for the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Small Business Development, Department of Labour and even the Department of Science and Technology. Is it conceivable that an entire government cluster can get it so wrong? The result is that South Africa has failed to create the tens of thousands of jobs in this sector, like India, West Africa, China, Vietnam and most of South America. The Makers who are operational are limping along in spite of millions of Rands being spent on consumer and trade shows. Because of the total lack of understanding of the markets, products and producers, the wrong makers are sent to the wrong shows. As an example, people who do not have the capacity to produce the requisite volumes are sent to shows that demand volume. As well as the humiliation of our National pavilions being so inaccurately curated. Every year, we have to witness desperate craftsmen and women being exhibited with their wares, at the likes of Decorex, SARCDA, Design Indaba and Joburg Design. Few of these people ever achieve any orders, because they are one-off Craftsmen, whose work is ideal for exhibitions, galleries, museums and museum shops. Because the attempt in trying to develop policy came from the Art and Culture sectors, the narrowest definition was applied. Distilling the last 20 years down, Craft has become art, Art has become Design and by implication Craft has been swallowed up by Design into one nebulous community of people who have not had the understanding and respect of the Civil Servants who have put their overseas trips ahead of the potential of literally tens of thousands of sustainable makers of products that will create further jobs and will certainly contribute to the national GDP. Regrettably this all happened in plain view of the sector, but because it has been controlled by the government purse, organisations like ignominious The Crafts Council of South Africa and the current incumbent; The Cape Craft and Design Institute. Artists blundering their way through enterprise development, trade and development. They simply cannot be effective, when they have the wrong DNA, sorry guys this is about business, not about awards for who has the prettiest pot or basket of beaded necklaces. Sorry, we are somewhat passionate about the subject. Read or blog, visit the site regularly, and please make a contribution. We cannot allow our sector to be divided and ruled any longer. Between the inept government, the extortionate Exhibition companies and the domination of the retail sector by big business, we need to stands up and be counted. This is our goal.

Our first goal is to find out who is making what products and where. The next is to start talking about issues that effect us all. The together, find solutions to the challenges facing us.

This is an initiative from craftsmen and designer, to craftsmen and designers.

Please register on the page provided, maybe like us on Facebook and we will like you back and let’s get the ball rolling.

Warm regards

Kevin Mansfield







About Makesa

Makesa is the largest online portal specialising in the development and promotion of South African Artisans, Makers and Crafts people.

Our aim is to provide a free platform for Makers and Suppliers to list and promote their businesses as well as provide free and paid-for educational material to encourage and educate the emerging market.