Craft village of Mogalakwena a hub of activities

Mogalakwena Craft Art

Founded in 1994 by Elbé Coetsee, author of the definitive book, Craft Art in South Africa,” the purpose of Mogalakwena is to create employment opportunities for previously disadvantaged women and young school dropouts. People in this area live in villages under the authority of the traditional Northern Sotho tribal chief, Kibi, in Limpopo Province and speak Sepedi.

Mogalakwena is also the original home of the now well-known ‘Zulu Mama’s chair”.

The whole concept of Mogalakwena, encompasses a game reserve, a lodge, a research center and the Craft Village located near the lodge and conceived as an artist’s retreat where designers and artists can spend several weeks developing a specific project with the option of involving the women from the Craft Village, sharing with other artists, and enjoying the breathtaking landscape of this region.

Craft village

The idea behind the craft village evolved from Elbe’s relationship with Northern Sotho women who communicated with her visually using embroidery to narrate tales of their daily life, the food of the region, their healing practices, leisure and sport, dress and adornment, education and work. Their embroidered documents were eventually gathered into art books that are now part of collections around the world and valued for their beautiful style, their bold expressiveness and the tactile quality of the work. See also Elbé Coetzee’s latest book


Today, the Craft Village provides a source of income for 40 women that walk two hours to and from their villages to arrive at this oasis of creativity, where they sing and share their life and culture with artists and designers from all over the world. They work on limited edition pieces that involve bead work, basket weaving, clay and embroidery.  Sales happen at the village’s shop at Mogalakwena and at their gallery in Cape Town.  Some goods are also sold through international retailers who are looking for authenticity, quality and soul.

Contact details:

Research Centre & Craft Art Village
Tel +27(0)21 424 7488
Head Office & Gallery: 3 Church street
Cape Town, South Africa