South African handicrafts huge draw at Delhi trade fair
New Delhi: Ceramics printed with ethnic African scenery, natural textiles featuring vibrant Zulu prints and animal trophies crafted with wire mesh from Cape Town are a huge draw at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) here.
So excited is the South African delegation that traders within two days of the fair have already started predicting a repeat of their 2008 sales when almost every stall sold its merchandise completely in the first week itself. The fair closes Nov 27.
Meet Bishop Tarambawamwe, a Cape Town-based businessman dealing in handicrafts including wire and bead work, which is beautifully embroidered in wall hangings of all types like animal trophies.
"This is my second experience here. Last time, I completely sold out in the first three days only. Looking at the excitement among people who are visiting our stall, I expect the same this year around as well," Tarambawamwe told reportes.
The artist-cum-businessman said that participating in the fair at the sprawling Pragati Maidan exposition grounds not only provides a great platform to sell but also to forge business relationship that accounts for huge numbers of after-orders.
"The sales are always good here. But I am more interested in meeting business people. I still have two business contacts here whom I met in 2008. They still place orders with me for their markets here and in the Middle East," Tarambawamwe said.
Cape Town-based businessman Patrick Sathorar, shares his fellow city-mate`s views, and says it is to develop a regular market for his merchandise that he comes here. "We have have bought just limited products. The real business starts after contacts are made."
Others in the South African trade contingent like African Art Centre from Kwazulu Natal and Zifunge Trading from Eastern Cape were banking on the similar cultural and customer preferences that South African art shares with India to boost sales.
"There are vast similarities between our cultures. South Africa like India is also rich in culture. I think young Indian customers would prefer the ethnic design and prints," said Ydiswe Sodwee Sodwele.
The South African contingent is the biggest from the continent and includes goods like textile, beaded jewellery, hand-made ceramics, wood sculptures, leather goods, painting and an assortment of traditional wall hangings from all the regions of the country.
The excitement in the African delegation can also be measured by the fact that it is led by Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe who is also slated to hold talks with her Indian counterpart Jyotiraditya Scindia.
"We have brought 19 South African businessmen also from the field of art and craft. This is to promote trade relations with India. Similar activities are also set to take place with Brazil," said a delegation official.
"There has been a lot of excitement in South Africa about this fair. India is a very big market, an economic power. We also share good relations though IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) forum."