Innibos National Craft Awards 2021: Entries are open

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Entries are now open for the fifth Innibos National Craft Awards, supported by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).

The competition aims to highlight the vibrant craft sector in South Africa by encouraging and honouring the excellence in skill of both those who set out to make pieces that can be easily reproduced and commercialised and those whose objective it is to create unique, wondrous once-off pieces.

Launched in 2017, the competition last year attracted over 1 300 entries from emerging and established crafters across South Africa. The submitted works included functional and decorative pieces and highlighted the vast range of materials used by South African crafters, their adaptation to changing consumer trends and their ability to innovate.

The awards are organised by John-Anthony Boerma and Jan Bhuda of ArtAid Africa and are hosted under the auspices of the National Innibos Arts Festival.

“From the start, it was our intention to create a platform for crafters to highlight their work and to show the world just how much talent there is in South Africa. One of our primary goals was to keep the competition as inclusive as possible, which we achieve by not charging an entry fee and keeping the entry process as simple as possible,” says Jan.

DSAC’s partnership with the Innibos National Craft Awards was motivated by the Department’s desire to encourage and stimulate creativity and innovation in the craft sector, which has the potential to help people break free from poverty and use their hands to create a livelihood.

Four categories of the awards are aimed specifically at those people who aim to commercialise their work. These categories are:

  • Corporate gifts (items that can be branded for clients),
  • Beadwork (traditional or innovative),
  • Recycled materials (primarily made from recycled/found materials), and
  • Souvenirs (items depicting a South African tourist attraction that can be mass produced).

One winner will be identified in each category and will walk away with R20 000.

In addition, a winner and two runners-up will be identified in the once-off category (one-of-a-kind items). Prizes are R50 000, R20 000 and R15 000, respectively.

Entries in all disciplines, from grass-weaving and ceramics to beadwork, wirework, wood, jewellery, paper, fabric painting and printing, quilting, leatherwork, pewter, glasswork, embroidery and mixed media are invited.

Final judging will be done by a panel of independent and expert adjudicators, with a virtual exhibition and prize-giving taking place in September.

A highlight of this year’s awards will be the Lifetime Achiever Award that will be bestowed on the globally renowned Ndebele painter, Dr Esther Mahlangu, who is considered a national treasure. From 2022, the craft sector will be requested to nominate subsequent recipients of the Lifetime Achiever Award.

Entering is easy!

Crafters have until midnight on Friday, August 13, 2021, to enter. They need simply take a photo of their entry – next to a matchbox for size and scale, and either email it to or send it to 071 621 3597 via MMS or WhatsApp. There is no entry fee.

Terms and conditions apply and can be found on the competition’s Facebook page –

Remember to include your name, the town in which you live and your contact details.

Entrants who have not heard from the organisers within 30 days of the closing date must assume that they have not been shortlisted for final judging.

For more information, please WhatsApp Jan Bhuda on 071 621 3597 or email John-Anthony Boerma at

To keep up to date with the Innibos National Craft Awards, like us on Facebook: @InnibosNationalCraftAwards and connect with us on Instagram: Innibos National Craft Awards.

Jan Bhuda and John-Anthony Boerma from ArtAid Africa.

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