The Wallabies may have lost against the Springbok on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth but they went home with a valuable token of appreciation in form of a handcrafted rugby ball dressed in colorful beadwork and embroidery, crafted by Mvuzo Ntlantsana.
The Queenstown craftsman, Ntlantsana, is a beneficiary of an initiative of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) that sets out to synergise sport, tourism and small business development in the province.
Ntlantsana from Mawawa Creations was chosen to develop a handcrafted rugby ball as a token of appreciation to the Australian Rugby Union. He created a wire framed ball that showcases the South African and Australian flags with a Nelson Mandela quote.
The ECDC also put up a pop up shop at the stadium showcasing the work of 15 other crafters under the Eastern Cape Craft Collection banner. ECDC senior manager for trade promotion Phakamisa George said the organisation has identified sports tourism and the hosting of events as a force that can be used to stimulate economic growth and revenue generation for Eastern Cape companies.
He explained that “The opportunity for the local crafter to produce a token for the friendly international arose after ECDC approached Eastern Province Rugby with a view to supporting sporting events in the province as a way of boosting sports tourism and the economic spinoffs such events generate. As a result of these engagements, an opportunity arose for a crafter to participate at the Nelson Mandela Challenge through this artwork.
“The idea is to ensure that whenever sporting events take place in the Eastern Cape, a token of appreciation will be produced by local entrepreneurs giving them exposure for their products on an international stage.”
He added that “The idea is to ensure that tourism and investment promotion is at the centre of hosting such events in the Eastern Cape in order to continuously create demand for the Eastern Cape as a destination for investment, trade and tourism.”
He said this investment should be able to take advantage of the significant socio-economic impact that is brought by sporting events through substantial spend in accommodation, entertainment, dining, shopping and general social cohesion.
For example, said George, in 2017 there were 4,000 international registrations for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, for a total of 35000 riders. Hotels and other places of accommodation reported high occupancy rates, and, according to the race organisers, the event injects more than R500 million into the Western Cape economy every year, as well as raising millions for charitable undertakings and cycling development which has a significant impact to those in need, both regionally and beyond.
“Additionally, in 2016 the Absa Cape Epic contributed R300m to the economy and the Cape Rouleur attracts 160 pro, former pro, celebrity, and amateur riders from 16 countries across Africa, America, Australasia and Europe,” said George.
This article was lifted from consumer affairs platform SATopShops.