Working Women: #14 Siobhan Landman

Siobhan Landman and her daughter, at her craft store Wimze in Grahamstown.

As a child growing up in a remote farming community Siobhan Landman put her energy into creative outlets, and by the time she went to study Anthropology at Rhodes, she had become a self-taught expert in all things craft. The skills that have stuck with her are knitting, crotchet, cross stitch and painting.

“Back home, people found ways to make what they wanted, it wasn’t about just buying it, and things had more value. Even the word craft, shows that because before it was a skill” said Siobhan.

Today, along with raising her daughter Emily and managing run Gung-ho Paintball she owns the craft supply store on African Street called Wimze, so she finds little time for her own projects.

“If I had to pay all my expenses with crafting, I would have to charge R1000 or more for an item, which takes it out of almost everyone’s budget,” said Siobhan.

Siobhan has run the shop for five years but only three from its current location, she hopes that it will be an economic success, but is still waiting. She notes that spending has declined somewhat in recent years and feels consumerism, economic recession, and the lack of free time are part of the cause.

“People don’t take their craft work seriously because it’s still considered something that housewives do on the side, and in the same way, people don’t want to spend money on buying hand made things, because they can get the same thing somewhere else for cheaper”.

But its not the same, she argues, “it’s someone’s art”.

South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This August, GAP is publishing a micro-profile a day on women working in Grahamstown in 2015.

About the photographer: Jane Berg is a photojournalist working in Grahamstown and finishing her Bachelor of Journalism Degree at Rhodes University. She is the Media Officer for The Gender Action Project. You can see more of her work at and on her Facebook page.


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