We had a busy, full-house Christmas season at Madi a Thavha with guests in and out of the pool all summer long and lots of village tours done visiting Tsonga and Venda crafters and artists around Elim, the Levubu valley and Thohoyandou. There is never a dull moment at Madi a Thavha, we are already shaking our feathers for a busy and eventful 2016 too!
We’ve risen from the August fire’s ashes
Cultural Heritage centre fixed and re-arranged
Our Cultural Heritage Centre is re-build and in top condition again after the fire in August last year. While fixing the centre and the adjacent Nandoni room, we also started to add a living unit for the lodge managers (that’s us) to the right.
New Sandriver bush house
We also upgraded a bush house set beautifully between the huge shady thorn trees next to our mountain stream and are really pleased with the results! The Sandriver Bush house now sleeps 4 people, has a lovely open-plan kitchen and living room with double doors opening up to the veranda and has a charming, full view on the mountain.
Scrap art from the ashes
From the fire came a different kind of surprise. Parts of our burnt bicycles and other burned equipment ended up being up-cycled by a young scrap-metal-artist during a welding-training week at the lodge in his October’s school holidays. Young Pilato Bulala has progressed well after we first ‘discovered’ and included him in our National Arts Council’s Creativity in Craft programme last year. We have since helped him to get a few basic tools with which he already created a scrap-art vehicle sporting a ‘very important’ built-in sound-system!
Madi a Thavha’s staff are learning and growing all the time
- Lufuno is progressing well into her second part of the 1st year of a diploma-course in professional cooking. She is one of 20 Limpopo students attending this part-time course at a FET College in Sibasa (Venda). This skills training programme for young people is funded by the department of tourism and is supported by the SA Chefs Association.
- We are pleased to announce that 18 year old student-chef Sindiso is going to study for a diploma in professional cooking at the International Hotel School in Johannesburg this year. Sindiso has done in-service training at Madi a Thavha for the past 9 months in one more step towards realizing his dream to become a ‘famous’ chef one day.
- After a rollercoaster year keeping our 4 star, Fair Trade and Portfolio Collection standards high we also successfully completed an intense 6 months National Arts Council training and product development programme with crafters and artists of Limpopo. Our Textile & Design studio’s capable team Tebocho, Ndifi, Susan and handyman Paul gained a lot of experience and new skills in the process, whilst constantly sharing their skills and experience training various groups and individuals from communities we support – we are really proud of them.
2015 National Arts Council’s Creativity in Craft programme growing into 2016 new product development and marketing programme.
The 2015 NAC programme culminated in hosting a Venda Tsonga CraftArt exhibition that ran from May until October last year. Most of the craft products produced during the programme, like unique heritage-based contemporary Limpopo jewellery, beaded baskets and beaded-and-embroidered textile products quickly got grabbed up by guests in our CraftArt shop with some crafters already getting follow-up orders.
The 2016 NAC programme entails more refined product development for certain lines and checking out existing skills and raw materials for others. New markets and marketing will get more focus during this programme but the most important goal however, is to find a business approach that works in such a complex field.
Madi a Thavha already ran two creative workshops in preparation for 2016’s product development. One was a tie-and-dye and potato-printing workshop with our Textile & Design team.
We held another beading and embroidery workshop with a group of women from Giyani.