Given the ongoing restrictions related to the virus, there is an increasing call for South Africans to support local industries.
Thousands of people have been impacted by loss of income and limited work opportunities. At the same time the plight of the jobless, the homeless and the underprivileged has given rise to a special solicitude among fellow South Africans with organisations such as Cape Town Together recognising that we are all interconnected, and that this is a time for solidarity.
This solidarity is evident not only in the verve of established organisations but also in the pro-active stance of individuals who feel compelled to make a difference and help those who have little chance of helping themselves through such a crisis.
In April 2020 Deidre Paul Diemont, manager of Constantia Village shopping centre in Cape Town, was concerned for the centre’s beaders who had been unable to work to support their families. With resources at the centre already stretched, Deidre reached out to her sister-in-law, Shannon McKay, in an effort to help.
The beaders, who have a permit to sell their creations, have been a part of village life since 2003. In total, 61 family members are supported by the 18 beaders who work alternate days at the centre.
With no recourse for work McKay quickly realised that “their situation was really grave, as they had no way of earning an income or supporting their families.” Reaching out on social media to friends and family resulted in a base of support for these families and McKay has been able to deliver weekly food parcels thanks to donations that have come in.
McKay mentions that she has been inspired by the work ethic and perseverance of the beaders who returned to work at the start of Level 3 even though most days it costs them to be there given the lack of trade from tourism. The beautiful creativity behind the recycled use of Nespresso pods motivated McKay to include a picture of artwork made by Wilbert in one of her weekly updates. This post has been shared over 2,000 times and the public response has been overwhelming.
Social media has been a significant tool in garnering more support for the beaders. Seeing pictures of the creations online has inspired many people to recycle their used Nespresso pods by dropping them off for the beader’s to use.
With the current lack of tourism in Cape Town, the attention drawn to these beautiful creations is highly valuable as local support must compensate until the tourism industry picks up again. Moreover, the Constantia Community Action Network, a segment of Cape Town Together, have provided donations to McKay which have enabled her to continue delivering weekly food parcels to the beaders.
The incorporation of used Nespresso pods into the designs has been met with great appreciation since the idea first materialised in 2017. Locals love the idea says McKay and international orders have even been placed from countries such as Austria, Australia and the UK.
The Constantia Beaders now have their own official Facebook page, Constantia Village Art and Design, where design requests and orders can be directed.