Shopping for African hand-made artwork and products has been made easier by a group of young technological savvy Africans who are based in Cape Town.
Mudanga.com is a relatively new platform seeking to bridge the gap between vendors and their clients. It's a "one-stop shop" website where art vendors are able to display and market their products.
The Chief Executive Director of the company, Tino Gavaza told News24 that the idea came about less than six months ago after "noticing a market for African products from various walks of life".
Gavaza said the site was a platform to give emerging creatives and small businesses an avenue to market and sell their wares as well as "tell the stories behind their products".
Said Gavaza: "The site is about uplifting communities around us - firstly by providing a platform where our vendor partners can make a living and support their families; and secondly through community development projects in partnership with various non-profit organisations."
Mudanga.com was launched in January 2017.
One-stop shop for African products
Gavaza said that the company was started by a group of young entrepreneurs who wanted to showcase the beauty of African produced artifacts and fashion.
He said that computer trained entrepreneurs together with vendors from different backgrounds across the continent were behind the site.
Gavaza said the company was for now only focussed on African creatives and artists who were currently based in South Africa. However, the aim was to venture out into other parts of the continent as well.
"For now we are still dealing only with those who are based in South Africa, but eventually we would be venturing into Kenya and other parts of the continent.
"We want to create a one-stop shop for African products, we want to empower our talented people and also fight poverty," said Gavaza.
Gavaza said the site was open to everyone who was making products using their own hands and wanted to "showcase and sell their products across the globe".
He said that the vendors were required to pay an annual subscription fee and also commit to delivering quality merchandise that could be sold to the international market at a profit mark of up to 25%.
"We are open to everyone who has a talent by crafting handmade African products and wants to showcase and sell his work to an international market that is very difficult to crack into without some kind of credibility.
"Most of the people who are selling their products in the Cape Town city centre for example, are struggling to make a living when the tourism season between November and February is over.
"So we want to create some kind of a converging point for our people.
"I believe that Africans are very creative people and everyone now wants a piece of African artwork and products. Therefore, it is only proper to create a space where the world meets Africa's creative producers," he said.
Gavaza said they were currently looking for partners to provide funding for their platform, in order to make it sustainable.
He said that they were already receiving some assistance from the Western Cape government through its Economic Development ministry.
"I'm very proud of the work that has been done by the Western Cape government in assisting local informal business owners. They have also helped us by occasionally linking our site to their own platforms and this has helped give us the exposure that we truly need," said Gavaza.
One of the vendors who had her products displayed on the site Lender Tsongoro said she had noted some changes ever since she became part of Mudanga.com.
Tsongoro together with her husband Dennis Vera - originally from Zimbabwe - ran a small shop selling hand made products.
She said that their products were made of wood and stones.
"We've seen a lot of difference since we joined Mudanga.com. A number of our products have been bought by overseas clients which would have not happened without the exposure," she said.
Source: News 24