Namibia
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I’Khoba’s ‘Christmas in July’ presents best of 40 years

Nothing says we’re halfway through the year like I’Khoba’s ‘Christmas in July’ display at Namibia Craft Centre’s Omba Gallery.

Ever the festive splash of Christmas-themed textiles, decor, ornaments, bits and baubles, the exhibition and pop-up shop is currently in its 12th iteration as it celebrates the best of I’Khoba’s 40 years.

The I’Khoba Textile Farm Project was founded by the Lacheiner sisters in 1983, and employed farm Marburg’s workers’ wives to make handmade children’s clothing for the annual Windhoek Christmas Market.

As the items grew in popularity, the project, which initially aimed to empower women in the rural area, began to supply a monthly Windhoek Street Market and eventually graduated to a permanent stand at the Namibia Craft Centre.

I’Khoba currently employs 300 men and women from communities at Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund and Windhoek, and the artists’ handmade items can be found at the craft centre, three retail outlets at Swakopmund, and lodges across Namibia.

This year, shoppers will be happy to see favourites such as I’Khoba’s African angels, their beaded Father Christmas and wooden nativity scenes alongside festive season decor fashioned from gourds, banana leaves and other natural materials, as well as various sustainable items crafted from upcycled cooldrink cans, water bottles, Nespresso capsules and plastic.

Titled ‘Best of 40 Years’, I’Khoba’s showcase features some of the best designs in the project’s history.

“We have crafted an original line of interior decorations as well as handmade toys and Christmas ornaments. We are also incorporating a range of wall hangings, bedspreads, tablecloths, cushion covers, baskets and bags,” says exhibition curator Mildred von Lüttwitz.

“The idea for a Christmas exhibition in July came to life as it is a great opportunity to exhibit Namibian Christmas traditions and symbols to visitors at the peak of the tourist season, in addition to presenting Namibians with some early Christmas ideas and presents.”

Windhoek’s first sign of the fast-approaching festive season and an impressive showing of everything from toys to trinkets, I’Khoba’s ‘Christmas in July – Best of 40 Years’ will be on display until 31 August.

[email protected]; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com