Through an inspirational meeting, Vistorina Nakanyala felt self-assured enough to start Gwaitalale Pottery.
Having grown up in a grandmother’s care who was artistically gifted as a potter, she would only sit by her side and watch her do her work but never did it ever occur to her that she would end up owning her own pottery business.
“While my grandmother would be busy making her products, my job was to bring her lunch, water or anything else she needed. However, I never participated in any of her pottery sessions,” she recalls.
Later in life, Nakanyala would meet a Norwegian lady at a Penduka Women Development meeting who encouraged her to start up something for herself. Nakanyala then taught herself basic pottery making before the Norwegian lady paid for her to take up pottery classes at the College of the Arts.
“I used to struggle to put clay on the wheel in the beginning to an extent that I felt that pottery wasn’t for me but once I started classes at the College of the Arts, my skills improved. Luckily for me, the teachers were very supportive. Through that support, I became more focused on my work,” she says.
Gwaitalale Pottery was established in 2009, she makes all kinds of handcraft designs ranging from cups, trays, jugs, pots and vases. She has managed to get financial assistance from NamPower to buy all the necessary pottery equipment.
Although she comes up with her own designs, her clients also have the option of requesting for their own. The process of drying her products lasts from three days to two weeks (depending on the weather).
They dry quicker during summer as the oven heats faster, however, it also presents a challenge as sometimes it gets very hot and that leads to most breaking, making her end up with fewer products.
Nakanyale owns a studio at the back of her house in Katutura from where she works with two other women. Her products can be found at the Windhoek Craft Centre. Furthermore, she takes part in most of the SME exhibitions that are held in the different regions. She was recently in the SME exhibition that took place at the NamPower Convention Centre. Through such exhibitions, she always meets potential clients from which she has created a clientelle-base. In cases of bigger orders from outside Windhoek, she does hand delivery. Currently, some of her clients include restaurants such as Xwama Restaurant (Katutura) and Que Tapas (Maerua Mall). Her products cost between N$30 and N$150 depending on the sizes and shapes of the products.
Nakanyale is happy with her business and praises the Lord for owning her own; the only issue for her is that of lack of space to sell her products.
“I wish we could have a booming Namibian pottery industry. I urge the Government to assist more upcoming potters by training them more in producing local products,” she concludes.