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The Artisans

Seasonality drives rural life

Our artisans and artists live in rural and often very remote settlements. It is helpful for them to earn money while working from home with part-time craft production that ties in with their household responsibilities and seasonal tasks: subsistence agriculture, small-stock farming, fishing, and piecework on communal or commercial farms.

The multiplier effect

Being part of a craft network helps artisans to integrate into the broader economy— like opening a bank account or obtaining small loans. There are further outcomes; we have seen many of our artisans, in particular women who are often single heads of households, grow in confidence and skills. They have gained recognition for the increasingly important role they play in the well-being of their communities.

The needs of the most vulnerable

A significant number of San from resettlement farms depend on Omba Arts Trust for livelihood support. The handcraft and contemporary art programmes with Ju/’hoan, Hai||om, !Kung and Khwe San groups, have been recognised as critical income opportunities for these economically disadvantaged communities.

Harnessing local talents and traditional skills

Our artisans are passionate about the preservation of their cultural heritage — being part of Omba’s creative family gives them the opportunity to maintain and utilise their material culture and traditional skills.  Omba facilitates innovation to create inspiring contemporary designs.

Looking ahead

Recognising some of the many challenges our artisans and their communities face, we have embarked on further programmes including food distribution and agricultural support.

Maintaining and replenishing resources

Sustainable resource management is a guiding principle for us. Omba has been facilitating the establishment of palm and dye-tree homestead and community gardens for basket weavers in the Kavango region to do our part in managing their palm resources. In 2019 Omba received a BOTSOC (Botanical Society of Namibia) award for this work. *More

Other key activities

  • Sponsoring artisans to attend horticulture short courses
  • Seed and sapling purchases and distribution
  • Supporting our artisans’ crop-farming activities
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