Table Bay Hotel spreads local festive decoration cheer

Founder of Monkeybiz, Mathapelo Ngaka- Mtati, shows the beaded reindeers done by artists in the townships.

The Table Bay Hotel has embraced the Waterfront’s Joy from Africa to the World theme and has also decided to upcycle their existing decorations, making them more representative of Cape Town and South Africa.

The African pattern created by artist Glorinah Khutso Mabaso from Pretoria

The decorations include beaded works by Monkeybiz, a crafting organisation in Khayelitsha, and baubles covered in African patterns by artist Glorinah Khutso Mabaso from Pretoria. The pattern will also extend to special wrapping paper and is even being used on the hotel menus.

The new African decorations were shown off on Thursday December 2.

Joy from Africa to the World is a project by the Waterfront, based on a vision that kicked off two years ago to re-imagine a festive season that celebrates the creativity of the African continent while honouring its commitment to environmental sustainability.

Joanne Selby, general manager for the Table Bay Hotel, said: “We will be welcoming visitors from out of town, and we want to give them a distinctly local experience.

“We were inspired by the Waterfront’s vision of Joy from Africa to the World and decided to draw on this concept for our own hotel’s festive programme.

“This year our celebration will showcase the essence of South Africa to create truly lasting memories for our guests.”

Table Bay Hotel financial manager, Mandy Mushaninga with the African style decorations in the background.

The hotel’s financial manager, Mandy Mushaninga said this festive season was a little more special as it was the first one after they reopened. The hotel had closed for seven months during the hard lockdown and opened in October last year, however, there were still strict Covid-19 regulations in place at the time.

Ms Mushaninga said the partnership with local artists shows support to the local communities and artists who have been hit hard by the pandemic and who are struggling.

She said the hotel has assisted these artists by commissioning work, as well as providing them with spaces to show off their work. “Its important for us to stand together with communities and support each other.”

MonkeyBiz, an NGO which supports around 200 women artists in the townships, was first commissioned by the Waterfront in 2019 for beaded decorations, and this year, they created eight totems, called the Travelling Totems, for the Waterfront, which will be on display around Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre during the festive season.

The beaded pots created by Monkeybiz

The wire and beaded objects they have created for the Table Bay include bowls, proteas, porcupines, and even an African take on reindeers.

The beaded reindeer created by Monkeybiz

The founder of Monkeybiz, Mathapelo Ngaka-Mtati, from Khayelitsha, said she was excited by the collaboration.

She learnt bead work from her mother who, at the age of 74, still does beading, and runs her own business.

Ms Ngaka-Mtati said the organisation supports artists in the community, who are provided with free materials to create works for Monkeybiz, which they buy back from the artists and put on the market. “We have a few buyers internationally. The women we work with are artists in their own right. They have free will, and this allows them to be creative, empowered, and earn money for it.”

Monkeybiz sales and social media manager Esther Filiba said Monkeybiz had a store in Bo-Kaap, but had to close due to the pandemic. They now work from a space in Paarden Eiland, and artists are able to create works from home.

Ms Ngaka- Mtati said for the decor at Table Bay, she divided the work between 15 artists, so that more of them could benefit.

“I’m so proud that handwork can put me in this space, and that it can empower women.

“From Khayelitsha to Table Bay – we are privileged. Most of our work went to international buyers and we never saw them again. I am so happy that artists can see their work on display in their hometown and country.”

The Table Bay Hotel has also provided Monkeybiz with cabinet space to display their work. If any of the work is sold, all the proceeds will go to Monkeybiz.

“Each piece is hand crafted so no two decorations are the same and we are certain our guests will appreciate this novel festive experience.

“We see this as a project that will grow over the coming years, and look forward to expanding our decorations while at the same time, assisting local communities and showcasing their skills,” said Ms Selby.