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The Handmade Contemporary Fair 2022, a fulfilling artisanal nirvana

The launch of the 2022 edition of the Handmade Contemporary Fair, better known as HmC, was filled with a palpable air of excitement and curiosity, reminding us of how the Covid-19 pandemic once robbed us of the one thing that makes us uniquely human; the fulfilling nirvana of social interaction, and better still the strong artisanal community bonds - writes Thando Mahlangu.

The launch of the 2022 edition of the Handmade Contemporary Fair, better known as HmC, boasted a number of delightfully curated and artisanal stalls.

The pearly white tent was pitched in vibrant Melrose Arch, north of Johannesburg. Twinkling fairy lights adorned the roof of this thoughtfully built out tent like an angel’s halo.

Upon entry one was greeted with warmth by vivacious hosts and hostesses. The night was filled with an almost palpable air of excitement and curiosity. Esteemed guests occupied spaces on rustic wooden tables and chairs, while some strolled about the labyrinth of stalls showcasing a wide range of bespoke African designs ranging from jewelry, ceramic arts, personal care products and fashion.

The Handmade Contemporary Fair 2022 featured an online and in-personal marketplace that beautifully curated, showcases and enables Africa’s design talent and flair.
A wide range of bespoke African designs ranging from ceramic arts, homeware décor and jewelry were on show.

Dr. Pachanga, aka ‘the last king Of Congo’, drew much attention not only for its fine clothing and trendiest must-have accessories, but for its uniquely designed handbags that make use of stunning African print material.

The vegan-friendly bags attractively displayed on the shelves stole the glances of most passerby, urging them to come a little closer, touch and even take home (buy) one of the interestingly named handbags.

The talented designer of this much-loved functional African fashion brand, real name Jean Rene Onyangunga, who resembles American neo-expressionist painter Jean Michel Basquait, is full of colourful energy that immediately invites you to listen to him. He spoke passionately about how he has named all the handbags after influential women in his life as “a way of honouring the grandeur that is femininity”.

Handmade in South Africa by architect Sarah Calburn and Dakalo Dyer, ORi-daSa’s designer lamps were the centre of attention.
Known for their uniquely branded bags, Dr. Pachanga/The Last King of Congo’s high-deluxe fashion pieces were among classic favourites.

For those looking for something to stimulate their senses, the Lola and Co Organics stand oozed a powerful scent of earthly goodness which wafted across the one segment of the labyrinth that couldn’t be easily missed.

Boasting a wide range handcrafted skincare range made using indigenous oils, butter and botanical hydrosols, I too couldn’t resist the edge to try out these heavenly-scented products and I must say, I truly loved how instantly moisturizing and light they felt on the skin.

Female entrepreneurs were heavily represented at this year’s edition of HmC Fair, among them was sustainable and earthy furniture designer Saucy Mukosa’s Dancing in the Wild’ bags.

Great food, SA’s finest wine galore at HmC Fair 2022

Flavorful food and fine wine were delicate threads that stitched together the experience of the fair. Sommeliers at both the Vinotoria and Idiom stands had guests’ palates tickled with their respective exquisite wine selections.

Vinotoria imports and distributes wines and prosecco from vast regions of Italy. They have over 250 wine selections, and for this colourful evening, they managed to bring a handful of heart-warming whites and reds perfect for a warm weather outing.

The saying ‘drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasing’ came to life in this year’s edition of HmC Fair.

Prove that South Africa is home to world’s finest wines, Idiom is a locally produced wine vineyard based in the scenic Stellenbosch mountains. The vineyard has been around for a significant amount of time – since 1999. As this occasion proved, visiting and immersing yourself in the much-talked about Idiom vineyard experience is something you should definitely put on your to-do list next time you visit the Mother City.


The Handmade Contemporary Fair 2022 exuded lightness and attainable opulence needed especially when looking to unwind after a busy day/week. The creatives that have graciously extended their talents and love for their crafts are to be commended.

The meticulously planned layout of the fair not only made the stalls easily accessible; well the entire experience is one for the books. It truly was wonderful to get the opportunity to partake in the appreciation of all of our gifted artisans and Africa’s design flair as a whole.

Thando Mahlangu
Thando Mahlangu
A book worm who's all about celebrating the best of African creativity, Thando Mahlangu is a lover of all things artisanal - be it contemporary art, crafts and better yet, African literature! 
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