Every traveller wants to take home something to remember their incredible adventure by.
Be it big (a large wooden giraffe) or small (a beaded trinket), purchasing souvenirs to take home, for yourself or as gifts, is part of the overall travelling experience. But how do you know what to purchase, and do so responsibly to support the local economy and local people and industries.
Local is Lekker
As a starting point, look for items that are manufactured locally.
The Love ZA Buy ZA campaign, for example, is a small collective of South African fashion and accessory designers and retailers, including Mungo and Jemima, Spilt Milk and Famke, combining their voices to promote supporting local industries.
This is great if you’re looking for a gift for a super stylish friend or family member with a flair for fashion and don’t mind spending slightly more than you would on the average been-there-done-that-souvenir t-shirt.
Maybe a beautiful hand-crafted piece of silver jewellery by Famke?
Where to find these items
Cape Town – the Old Biscuit Mill (and their Neighbourgoods market on a Saturday), the V&A Waterfront’s newly-renovated Watershed market any day of the week, or Hout Bay’s Bay Harbour Market on a Friday evening or Saturday and Sunday during the day.
Johannesburg – Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday mornings into the afternoon in Juta Street, Braamfontein.
Durban – Wilson’s Wharf or The Stables markets.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
The bead and wire creations you can find on almost every street corner and at every market creates employment for many South African people who otherwise have no employment or income. These vendors also often reuse materials in creative ways to create all sorts of exciting trinkets.
Head to iThemba curios in Stellenbosch for some of the most special creations. You can even get them to make you a special customised badge/brooch.
Gifts for a cause
If you want to purchase small gifts for a group of people back home, for the cost of a round of five or six drinks in a European or American city, you can buy a stack of Relate Bracelets from www.relate.org.za.
If you’ve got a heart that beats for endangered wildlife, or know someone who does, Woolworths has an amazing array of products that benefit Wildlife Act, including cool shopping bags and these delicious jelly sweets.
Fairtrade and organic treats
Wine and chocolate lovers rejoice! South Africa has some pretty cool Fairtrade products. In fact, South Africa is the largest producer of Fairtrade wines in the world.
But wait… what is fair trade? It is basically an ethical certification whose main aim is to promote more equality and sustainability in the farming sector.
You will be able to spot Fairtrade wines pretty easily if you look for the recognisable logo, but we suggest you try out one of Fairhills‘ varietals.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a bookish friend who’s into current affairs will like, buy a Big Issue magazine. Vendors can be found at busy intersection right across Cape Town and receive 50% of the cover price.
This article was originally published on Traveller24.