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Who we are

The Africa Craft Trust relies heavily on guidance from the members of its Board of Trustees.  They bring their experience from the private and NGO sectors and are in frequent communication with the Trust’s director and consultants.

Our board


Paula Nimpuno-Parente

Paula Nimpuno-Parente works as an independent development consultant on issues such as economic opportunity, financial inclusion and social protection. Previously she was employed for 17 years as a programme officer at the Ford Foundation and before that at the Bernard van Leer Foundation in The Hague. Paula has done extensive research on gender and the informal economy in Thailand and Kenya, focusing on access to livelihood finance, low-income housing markets and wage/employment opportunities. She serves on the boards of a number of development organisations.


Susan McLean

With an MBA and a background in banking, strategy and management, Susan has many years’ experience working with NGOs, including  the Urban Foundation,  St John Ambulance and Phedisang, a Limpopo-based scheme working with vulnerable children.  She was a Board member of the New Basket Workshop for eight years. Having managed her own businesses for over 20 years, Susan brings strategic financial, management and business skills to the Board of The Africa Craft Trust.


Makgano Mamabolo

Makgano Mamabolo is a South African actress, writer and businesswoman, best known for her multiple roles in many television series. She also works behind the camera as a director and producer. She has produced for her own production house, Puo Pha Productions, as well as for Ochre Media and Out In Africa. She is a feature film writer, as well as a producer of documentary films bringing her organisational and creative skills to the Trust.

She has been a Board member of the Trust for more than seven years.


Hakima Haithar

Hakima Haithar has worked in the development sector for the past nineteen years. Her experience includes human rights, philanthropy, democracy, and migration work.  She is an International Development consultant, currently consulting to the University of Witswatersrand’s African Center for Migration and Society. She has consulted with the Global Coalition On Migration(GCM), the African Union and the United Nations. She was previously the Regional Migration & Displacement Manager for Save the Children International.  She has worked with the Ford Foundation, Amnesty International and Idasa.


Frances Potter

Frances worked first as a researcher and later, during South Africa’s turbulent 1980s, as a human rights lawyer. In 2002 she combined her interest in rural development with her love of artisan craft when the US-based NGO Aid to Artisans employed her as a marketing consultant. With ATA she worked in South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique. She established Aid to Artisans South Africa Trust, which became the Africa Craft Trust. Later she co-formed The New Basket Workshop in response to the special needs of rural basket producers in Africa. This work, which occupied her from 2008, included collaborations on various projects with basket makers in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa. In 2011 she was hired, as director of TNBW, to consult to India’s National Institute of Design on the implementation of a five-country basket development initiative in Africa. Further work with India included consulting to the National Centre for Design and Product Development on basket producer-focused projects in Zimbabwe, Ghana and Ethiopia. Over the years she has been a judge for UNESCO’s Prix d’Excellence and Label d’Excellence in Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali as well as serving on the jury for UNESCO’s International Fund for the Promotion of Culture as well as other UNESCO assessments. Frances is an advisor to the Joburg Fringe, as well as to RIDA.

In 2016 she joined the Board of Imbali Visual Literacy Project – South Africa’s only accredited craft training programme. In the same year Frances came back to the Africa Craft Trust as a Board member and director.

Our consultants

The Trust has no full-time employees. Instead the Board hires skilled consultants on a project-by-project basis for the implementation of its programmes. Consultants come from varied backgrounds - below are listed some of those who work closely and frequently with the Trust. 


Mara Fleischer

Mara Fleischer has worked in the craft industry for over 25 years. After training in design, she founded The Green Glass Company. This early success in glass recycling began as a small business in Gauteng, but took Mara to operations across Europe and the US. Upon her return to South Africa in 2010, she put her design and entrepreneurial skills into starting the Re-tyre company. Leveraging sustainable re-use practices, Re-tyre up-skilled artisans to generate income by making marketable products from waste tyres . At the same time, Mara consulted for various projects including: CEDARTE/Mozambique, Colours in Africa/Nigeria, Nelson Mandela Museum/Eastern Cape. Among the many products on which she has collaborated with artisans are woven lamps produced in the Western Cape’s Dunoon Weaving Project. These were snapped up by Nandos for its shops in the USA.

In 2014, Mara took up permanent employment with the Craft and Design Institute. This gave her the chance to hone her people-creative-development skills through the facilitation of CDI’s Creative Thinking in the SMME sector. The position required writing and implementing creativity workshops across South Africa. The content of her materials were commissioned by DAC and published in a crafters manual: “Growing your creative Business”.

Mara’s unique hands-on facilitation style has been implemented in various

schools and projects, such as the Sustainability Institute/Stellenbosch and the Butterfly Art Project/Capricorn Park. Mara’s experience has made her a highly skilled facilitator capable of working in diverse environments and able to focus on the development of an individual’s creativity. She combines her approach with an understanding of the needs of business and market access in the SMME sector, to encourage sustainable enterprises.


Annig Barrett

As a result of growing up in southern Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle, Annig Barrett formed a deep commitment to support the cultures and development of the continent. After ten years producing and wholesaling Latin American craft, Annig Barrett created a retail concept ‘World Design’ to showcase craft from the global South, working with organisations having an ethical approach to business, focusing on job creation, sustainability and social development.

She brings more than has over 25 years’ experience as a craft producer, wholesaler, retailer and consultant to the sector. With a unique perspective both as a successful business developer and a social development activist, she specialises in craft as a means to improving livelihoods. Living and working in Africa, South America and Europe she has dedicated her efforts to ethical business practices, trade and social development. Together with training in climate change, adult learning, sustainable development, M&E, outcome mapping, financial management and proposal development, Annig has a Masters in Development from Dublin-based Kimmage Development Studies Centre.

She was raised in Botswana and her work includes hands-on work with groups, development advocacy organisations, and funders. As well as experience of working with craft producers she also set up and still runs World Design. World Design has retailed and wholesaled craft since 1999. Through this Annig has experience of the craft sector in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Mali, Ireland and France. There’s almost no aspect of the business of craft and its supply chain in which she does not have extensive experience.


Abubaker Basajjabaka

Ugandan-born Abubaker Basajjabaka holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree, together with a Diploma in Welfare State and Democracy and a certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation. His professional work experience spans more than 20 years – mostly in the development sector.

In 1996, working as research director for Pearl Communications, a marketing research company, he was in charge of developing initiatives to prevent HIV/AIDS in Uganda, among them the Life Guard condom which exists until today. 

In 2000, Abubaker migrated to South Africa for basic IT training.  Millennium Computer College hired him as a computer trainer, at the same time contributing to the publication of the Pretoria Metropolitan Council’s newsletter, Metro Matters.

Back in Uganda in 2005, he returned to public health and community issues.  As a director for Hallmark Events and Promotions, a social marketing company, he was in charge of IEC and BCC outreach strategies to prevent infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, TB, cholera, and typhoid, on behalf of Ministry of Health, The AIDS Support Organisation and the Global Fund. He championed the rights of people with disabilities and of women’s access to family planning and education.  He undertook corporate social initiatives to popularise safe water, corporate citizenship and behavioural change against diseases.  These extensive community engagements led to his appointment in 2006 as programme officer for Bellanet Africa, an IDRC-funded project, promoting collaborative technologies and tools—skype, wikis, blogs, mailing lists, d-groups, social networking sites, video and image sharing sites—to enhance communication, collaboration, networking, knowledge-sharing for communities of practice. The stint exposed him to various African, Central American and Asian countries.

In 2016 Abu was appointed activity coordinator for Anti-Counterfeit Network Africa, taking charge of research and knowledge platforms, encouraging holistic approaches to prevent consumption and importation of counterfeits into Uganda.

 In 2018 Abubaker returned to South Africa to enlist for a Management of Technology and Innovation MSc.  He also consults as a training facilitator and researcher for the Institute of Adult Learning and Education and the Africa Craft Trust. He combines his broad analytical spectrum ability with his passion for writing – and regularly contributes to newspapers, blogs and journals.


Rob Hamilton

Rob Hamilton is a Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist with two decades of experience in public health systems strengthening and consulting to the public health sector, and equivalent time in private psychotherapy practice. He is a seasoned facilitator and trainer, having developed a range of training courses in health and related areas (including HIV/AIDS). He has worked in community settings across five provinces. Rob is also a freelance editor, researcher and writer, with a particular focus on Southern African developmental and gender issues. He holds an MA (Clin Psych) degree from the University of Johannesburg.


Lorato Liphuko

Lorato comes with experience in design and retail, training and project management. She was born in England to South African parents in exile. When she was four, she and her family relocated to Botswana where she grew up before returning to London’s Kingston University to complete an Honours Degree in Fashion and Design.  Relocating to post-apartheid South Africa, she worked in the commercial fashion manufacturing industry in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg.  Lorato worked on the London South Africa (LOSA) craft program, and then in 2005 as part of the founding team of Aid to Artisans South Africa Trust (the forerunner of the Africa Craft Trust). For nearly six years she was a part of Africa Fashion International.  Deciding to walk-the-talk, she co-owned and ran her own fashion wholesale and distribution company before family commitments drew her back to Mahikeng in South Africa’s North West.  In 2017, coming almost full circle, she rejoined the Africa Craft Trust as Projects Manager for the National Lotteries Commission-funded project but now consults on a project by project basis.