Supporting Local

As I sit thinking about the state of our country… the water shortages, the exchange rates, the petrol going up… *again*… I start to think about how I as a South African can make a difference.

Not only do I want to make a difference to my planet, my country, my fellow man. But I want to make a difference to “me”, to “my” attitude, to “my” surroundings. But isn’t that where it all actually begins anyway? Once I start changing my attitude, my way of thinking, my buying habits... I will start affecting those around me. Then those people, in turn, will start affecting their social circle. And this is how one drop in the ocean can become a tidal wave!

I am so tired of hearing how China and the likes are polluting our planet, but no country stands up against purchasing from these countries as their goods are “cheap”. Their labour is “cheap” and ruling the world so it seems. I’m sure you have all heard the stories by now of countries like Scotland sending their Cod caught off the Scottish coast on a 16093.44 Km trip to China and back again, to be filleted for their supermarkets as it is cheaper than employing local labour to de-bone and fillet the fish. Similar stories including Seattle-based Trident Seafoods, are sending part of their catch of Alaskan salmon or Dungeness crab to China to be filleted or de-shelled before returning to U.S. tables.

The reality of this seems so unreal and unfair to me. How many people within their own country have lost a job opportunity to this? Purely, because Chinese labour is cheap! But then, should we also not be feeling sorry for these Chinese labourers who are working for these measly wages under poor conditions? Sweat shops, as they are known, have even reportedly put suicide nets up around their buildings to stop overtired and overstressed workers from plunging to their deaths.

The question is… can I do anything to stop these sweat shops, imports and loss of jobs from happening? The answer is no. But, if I start making small changes in my purchasing habits, I can make a difference to someone in this Country, my Country. As the saying goes, “Local is Lekker”. We just don’t know how lucky we are to live in a country where you are still able to “start your own small little business” that can pay the bills. Conglomerates have not quite taken over all aspects of our fair Country just yet. So within this lies our opportunity.

When it comes to our electronics, cell phones etc, I say sure… we don’t exactly have many other options and cannot stay in the dark ages just to stand against “The Man”. But when it comes to gifting, home décor and food, local is the way to go. With exchange rates climbing, our gifting and home décor items are on the rise. But our local products from Crafters Market say it from the heart. Our local products have our flavour written all over it, and better yet, it comes from a place of hard work, intense labour and attention to detail. Our crafters at Crafters Market are always trying to listen to what people want, what the new trends are, and work hard at producing those items for you. Most of our crafters even do customised orders to give the detail and colouring you need to meet your specific requirements.

We as a nation have started becoming a lot more craft orientated due to great apps like Pinterest showing us the way. So let’s go local where we can. Let’s support the South African with paint on their eyebrow from wiping down the sweat after a day of painting their craft. Let’s support the South African with a splinter in his finger from putting together the coffee table that would look perfect in your lounge. Let’s support our fellow artisan… and “Stick it to the Man”!

Together, Crafters Market and you the consumer, can support local crafters and say its “lekker to be local”.

Author: Yolande Niemandt
March 2016

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