Starting handy work business – Artisanship

It’s no more an over statement that over dependent on formal Education has caused set back for us in Africa entirely and not limited to South Africa. We have over time over valued and depended on certificates rather than what we can actually do with our potential skills.

Everyone has one form of skill or the other inherent in them which if developed could have make them self reliant economically without depending on their certificates. Focusing on Artisanship development and promotion in South Africa would definitely be a better way to go.

Hence, it’s very pertinent that we start changing our ideology and attitude towards certificate to focusing more on developing our skills for a sustainable economic advancement in our Country.

For a better understanding and comprehension of this piece, there is a need to explain what Artisanship and artisan mean. Understanding these words will enable us to change our perception towards these words and those involved. Being an artisan doesn’t mean you should not be formally Educated but definitely vice versa.


Artisanship means The state or quality associated with being an artisan. This means an act of either by learning or naturally acquiring knowledge of being an artisan. While Artisan means a person or company that makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.

An Artisan  is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates things by hand that may be functional or strictly decorative, for example furniture, decorative arts, sculptures, clothing, jewellery, food items, household items and tools or even mechanisms such as the handmade clockwork movement of a watchmaker and so on and so forth. Artisans practice a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist.

During the Middle Ages, the term “artisan” was applied to those who made things or provided services. It did not apply to unskilled manual labourer. Artisans were divided into two distinct groups: those who operated their own businesses and those who did not.

Those who owned their businesses were called masters, while the latter were the journeymen and apprentices. One misunderstanding many people have about this social group is that they picture them as “workers” in the modern sense: employed by someone.

The most influential groups among the artisans were the masters, the business owners. The owners enjoyed a higher social status in their communities. It’s quite unfortunate that nowadays especially in Africa we look down on these set of social class .We often think they are less important in the society because most of them are not formally Educated.

Artisans were the dominant producers of consumer products prior to the Industrial Revolution and I strongly believe that even now most young graduates without or with Jobs could still tap this opportunity of being an artisan and empower themselves.


It’s high time we young Africans start thinking beyond our certificates or what course we studied in the University and other higher institutions of learning. We need  to stop depending solely on the certificates acquired and start think of what we can offer the society. It doesn’t make any sense looking for Job that does not exist when we can actually develop ourselves by engaging in skill acquisition and uplift our status financially.

The earlier we realize that all of us (Graduates) can not gain white collar Job the better for us. White collar Job will always be competitive and moreover, it may never be able to give us financial freedom that we seek. Most of us could develop ourselves and be a Job providers rather than being a Job seekers. If we could be thinking in this direction, then Africa would become an industrialized continent and  advance economically.

Unemployment would become thing of the past if we start thinking outside the box. There are so many young African entrepreneurs who have contributed to the development of South Africa and Africa in general. These people are thinkers and they never waited for anyone to give them Jobs. They developed themselves and excel in their chosen career. Because they thought outside the box, they have been able to develop their skills and eventually turn it to fortunes.

Most of this young African entrepreneurs are now job providers because they have been able to provide solutions to people’s problem.


In South Africa today, it’s very evident that there are very high shortages of young artisans in the country. This is an alarming issue but definitely an eye opener for those that can think outside the box. It is an opportunity for those who can make use of this shortages of artisans by quickly engage themselves in skill acquisition and become self reliant economically.

Realistically, being an artisan is more profitable and viable in South Africa today because of their shortages in the country. Comparing  artisans with university graduates economically as well as in terms of opportunity to be gainfully employed is like comparing an ocean with a lake. The competition in the labour Market for the unemployed graduates is vast which reduces their chances of getting employed profitably.

Frequently, Students will study at universities, colleges for years and, upon graduation, many struggle to obtain gainful employment.

Graduates in most cases earn rock bottom salaries as there is an oversupply of their skill and knowledge offering.

Many, with good qualifications who are not absorbed into large corporate companies, end up working as waiters or waitresses, or other semi-skilled jobs such as sales assistants or in security. The most annoying part is that, most of these educated people may end up working for these young artisans who have successfully transformed themselves into successful entrepreneurs.

However, some Artisans, whom interest is to work for the so called big Companies, are almost guaranteed formal employment and, upon graduation can earn R10 000 to R30 000 per month. That’s more than most university graduates will earn.

South African economy desperately needs these mid-level skillful Artisans and, therefore, they are vital to the economy of the Nation.

It is a pity that many graduates eschew vocational training option, but they failed to know that  there is a far greater need for artisans than university graduates.

The irony is that many jobs in the corporate world will end up disappeared in the very near future. But there will always be jobs for artisans.

If you are a graduate, the best option for you is to develop yourself to become skillful like artisans and make use of your education to acquire success..

Make your decision today and stop looking for Jobs that are not actually available out there. Stop wasting your time and take a bold step towards becoming your own boss and also an employer of labour.

After all,  if you are eventually gainfully employed it doesn’t mean you are financially independent rather, it makes you a perpetual salary earner. But, being an artisan could give you financial autonomy and makes you an employer of labour.

I will end my article by quoting Sean Jones, CEO of the Artisan Training Institute who says :

“In the near future many occupations will no longer exist – but artisans are the bedrock of the economy and will always be needed”.