It’s time for Africa’s Artisans to shine at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair 2018

Every maker’s story starts with the material that inspires the creative act. Take cotton for example. With a master maker’s vision, you can turn fine fibres into something well-made in Africa. Or take copper. It takes creativity to turn shimmering metal into meaning. Raw material. Passion. Well-made in Africa. It’s a simple formula that’s turning all eyes on Africa’s artisans. 

South Africa: This weekend is one of the world’s foremost fashion, food, wine and design fairs! Taking place from 12-14 October at Hyde Park Corner, the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair (SHmC) promises another audacious display of the best wares from 120 of Africa’s top artisans. This year’s theme – ‘a return to making’ – is all about the makers who transform raw materials into meaning. It’s about their stories, skills and making journeys.

This is the ninth edition of the SHmC, which continues to grow in stature, providing a pre-eminent platform for exceptional artisans to reach a receptive audience of aesthetes. First founded by Artlogic in 2010, this has always been the intent of the fair, which was the first of its kind in Africa. Sponsored by Sanlam since its inception, it has continued to be a way to show all things beautifully hand-made in Africa to the world.

Fair Curator, Cassandra Twala says, “We’re very excited about this year’s theme, which really places the focus squarely on our makers and their stories. We have an exciting selection of artisans, with lots of new exhibitors from across the continent. Visitors can look forward to the best of the best in local fashion, lifestyle and homeware brands, top SA chefs, high-end wine labels, microbreweries and specialty foods. As always, our intention is to connect entrepreneurs and SMEs to a supportive audience who truly appreciates their craft.”

Trurman Zuma, Chief Executive of Integrated Solutions at Sanlam continues, “WealthsmithsTM and makers share multiple traits. In the same way a WealthsmithTM transforms money into meaning, a maker transforms a raw material into meaning. Both do so through the qualities of hard work and dedication – traits that we believe make anything possible. For the last 100 years, Sanlam has been investing in the unrivalled potential of this continent and its people. We know there’s nowhere else like Africa and we want to create a continent bursting with opportunity for the next generation to inherit. Investing in our artisans, entrepreneurs and SMEs is one of the best ways to do so, which is why we continue to support the SHmC. It provides an incredible way for us to make a material difference to people’s businesses – and, in doing so, grow this continent’s economy.”

Each year, dynamic special projects give SHmC a unique edge, cementing its position as the most coveted lifestyle event on Joburg’s social calendar.  Things to look out for include:

  1. Five Featured Designers will lead each of the newly created pavilions that bring together exhibitors with similar offerings. The chosen designers are to curate seating areas within each pavilion that serve as conceptual foci throughout the fair. The 2018 Featured Designers include:
    1. Textile designer Sindiso Khumalo, who will headline the Textile Pavilion
    2. Ceramicist Michael Chandler is set to champion the Homeware Pavilion
    3. South Africa’s pioneering lifestyle brand Babylonstoren will be at the forefront of the Lifestyle Pavilion
    4. Leading contemporary jewellers, Tinsel Gallery will champion the Jewellery Pavilion
    5. Wine expert Nkululeko Mkhwanazi will curate the selection of wineries that will participate in the Wine Village, which is to be designed by detail 24’s Manini Rampola
  1. This year’s Well Made in Africa special project is curated by renowned Mozambican textile designer Wacy Zacarias, founder of textile companies Woogui and Karingana Wa Karingana. Featured exhibitors include:


  1. Making the Masters makes a return with another panel discussion, hosted in conjunction with Creative Mornings on 12 October.  This initiative aims to impart knowledge and years of experience from the selected speaker to budding artisans and peers.


  1. Two new cocktail lounges: This year, visitors can delight in exquisite elixirs from the SHmC’s two secondary sponsors: Bombay Sapphire and Bisquit Cognac. In addition to sponsoring the Textile Pavilion, Bombay will be serving up gorgeous G&Ts, showcasing their gin distilling approach that ‘begins with botanicals.’ If cognac is more your drink of choice, pop across to the House of Bisquit Lounge to indulge in superb concoctions from one of France’s oldest makers.


New participating exhibitors include some of the most respected names in local design, food and wine: Houtlander, Karu, Manaka Coffee, Jackson’s Real Food Market, Lukhanyo Mdingi, Waya Waya, Khokho and Chocoloza.


Familiar brands such as Pichulik, Bena Group, Richard Bosman, Jorgensens, Skinny La Minx, Simon and Mary as well as Steenberg Wines will also be returning to this one of a kind event.


Pre-sale tickets are available online via for R130 each, or at the door for R150 (kids under 12 enter free).  The fair is open on Friday, 12 October from 12 pm to 10pm; on Saturday, 13 October from 10am to 9pm and from Sunday, 14 October from 10am to 4pm.