The Impact That COVID-19 Is Having on African Artisans

September 02, 2021

The Impact That COVID-19 Is Having on African Artisans

The impact of Covid-19 has touched every person, including those in Africa. Currently, more than 175,000 Africans have died because of the pandemic, and many others have struggled to keep their business afloat. 

Tourism is the lifeline for hundreds—if not thousands—of African companies, but Covid-19 has temporarily ruined that lifeline, causing permanent damage to many brands. If you visit Africa right now, you'll hear hundreds of stories about people who no longer have a business because tourism is down.

It doesn't matter if you're talking to a CEO of a restaurant or an African artisan. Anyone on the continent will tell you how hard it's been for companies to stay in business, and while it's easy to point the finger at different reasons, the biggest culprit is a decrease in tourism. 

A decrease in tourism is hurting African businesses

The pandemic came along right when Africa was experiencing a boom in tourism. With successful marketing campaigns, the expansion of Airbnb, and easier travel routes, Africa's tourism industry worked its way up to become the second-fastest growing in the world. And while there isn't any research to suggest its ranking has dropped because of Covid-19, plenty of businesses are hurting because fewer people are visiting. 

Recently, reached out to 306 safari operators and discovered that over 90 percent had experienced a 75 percent or more decline in booking requests and actual bookings. A senior VP with close to 100 hotels in Africa also explained that while they've tried to save jobs where possible, they've had to focus on reducing hours and implementing temporary layoffs.  

Additionally, according to the World Bank, Covid-19 has delivered a particularly devastating blow to the labor market in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that's home to Eswatini, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and many more countries. When the organization looked at a handful of areas across the region, it found that many people had stopped working, the number of employed women shrank, and labor losses affected 82 percent of households. 

Most of these people impacted likely worked in industries that relied heavily on tourism, so until that's better, these people's livelihoods will suffer. However, the worst part about this situation is that these setbacks are difficult to overcome, especially when you live in countries already experiencing so many trials. 

For example, in Eswatini, a small kingdom in Sub-Saharan Africa, the pandemic has only exacerbated the country's financial challenges. Many Swazis were already experiencing poverty before the pandemic hit, and now the situation has worsened. 

Tourism's influence on Eswatini, Africa

One of the biggest industries in Eswatini is the artisan industry. The country is home to hundreds of talented African artisans who make their money off tourism. But now that Covid-19 has made it difficult to travel, the artisans in Eswatini have no income. 

In developed countries, this circumstance may not be too challenging for some to withstand. With a savings account and help from the government or family and friends, it's easier to weather the storm. However, in Eswatini, it's impossible to make it even one day without an income. 

Swazis don't have a savings account to fall back on as many people do in Western countries. They also don't have family or friends who can help them during a financial crisis because their loved ones are usually just as poor. Additionally, while the government does everything it can to sustain its people, it's not easy to financially support every Swazi. 

So when African artisans in Eswatini no longer have an income, they suffer immensely. A lack of financial resources means there's even less food on the table if there's any food at all. Eswatini was already in the midst of a food crisis before the pandemic, and researchers now believe Covid-19 has led to acute hunger in the country. 

How Khutsala Artisans is helping African artisans in Eswatini 

Until the tourism industry in Africa is better, it will be hard for many businesses to survive. But with help, it won't be impossible. 

Recently, Khutsala Artisans decided to promote other artisan products on its site. These African artisans live in Eswatini and desperately need a new sales channel that can help their business stay afloat. And Khutsala Artisans is providing that sales channel by showcasing the beautiful, handmade pieces that Swazis throughout Eswatini are producing. 

If you make a purchase from this new collection, you won't have to worry about loving your items. You are sure to appreciate every product these African artisans have carefully crafted. And you can also rest assured that the Swazis who designed your products will appreciate your purchase. 

You buying something plays a direct role in their livelihoods. With your purchase, you help African artisans in Eswatini put food on the table and take care of their families. So if you want to help make a difference during this pandemic, check out Khutsala Artisans' new collection. In fact, here's a quick preview of some of the items you'll find. 

  1. Jacaranda Wood Bowl 

A beautiful accent to any room, the Jacaranda Wood Bowl is a fun conversation piece. It's hand-carved and comes directly from the jacaranda tree, even taking on the shape of the tree to deliver a unique finish. 

Buy the Jacaranda Wood Bowl HERE


  1. Beverage Chiller

Made by Ngwenya Glass artisans in Eswatini, the Beverage Chiller is a beautiful handmade piece that's great for wine, tea, lemonade, and any other drink that you want to keep cold. The item comes from recycled glass, making it a unique, eco-friendly chiller. And it's easy to use. All you have to do is add ice to the opening on the side and pour in your favorite beverage of choice. 

Shop the Beverage Chiller HERE


  1. Swazi Candles (Set of 4)

Nothing says relaxation like lighting a candle and enjoying its sweet scent. Handmade by African artisans in Eswatini, each candle has a different pattern. When you buy this set of four, it'll include the zebra, giraffe, cheetah, and heart design. Fun but elegant, these candles are a great way to lighten up your space and add a touch of African decor to your home. 

Purchase the Swazi Candles (Set of 4) HERE

Support African artisans in Eswatini 

There are many more products in Khutsala Artisans' new collection. This article only highlighted a few pieces, but you can also find exotic African stools, nested grass basket sets, checkerboards, and other candles. 

If you start shopping the collection, you should have no problem finding something you want to buy. The African artisans in Eswatini who contributed to the collection have tremendous work to showcase and offer, which is why there's no doubt you'll enjoy what's available. 

So buy one of the new products at Khutsala Artisans. Not only will you love your purchase, but you'll also support the Swazi artisans in Eswatini who need your help the most. 

Shop with purpose by checking out the Swazi Artisan Collection

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