About Us



To create an enabling environment for the sustainable development,promotion and preservation of African arts and crafts with special focus on KwaZulu-Natal.

The African Art Centre contributes to the development, promotion and appreciation of African arts and crafts by: 

DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING - providing creative and business skills development and mentoring for targeted crafters and artists
EXHIBITIONS - providing a professional exhibition space for young and established artists and crafters
MARKETING AND SALES - providing an outlet for the wholesale and retail of artists’ and crafters’ work.

The African Art Centre has built a reputation for supplying specialised, high quality, hand crafted arts and crafts.  

The provides opportunities of self-employment, development and exposure for 300 African Black artists and crafters and every purchase made from the Centre contributes income towards these individuals. 

80% of these beneficiaries are women 

40% are between the ages of 20 and 35 years old

Most of the Centre’s beneficiaries are the sole provider in the family therefore the multiplier effect reflects that the Centre creates sustainable livelihoods for approximately 1500 individuals living in the following localities: Valley of 10,000 Hills, Nchanga, Mayville, Bergville, Chatsworth, Umlazi, KwaMashu, Inanda, Greytown, Nongoma, Hlabisa and Manguzi. 




During the past 60 years the Durban African Art Centre Association (African Art Centre) has provided hundred of artists and crafters with opportunities for self-employment and the realization of their talents.  Originally established as a programme of the South African Institute of Race Relations in 1959, the African Art Centre has, since 1984, operated as a non-profit organization.  It was guided by the late Jo Thorpe, who virtually single-handed, put Durban on the map as an important centre of black artistic development.


Since its inception, the African Art Centre has successfully facilitated and implemented relevant development and mentorship programmes and showcase opportunities for hundreds of artists and crafters from rural and urban KwaZulu-Natal. The Centre is recognized as one of the longest running South African organizations involved in the development and marketing of the works produced by disadvantaged artists and crafters. Through various marketing initiatives, every attempt is made to assist artists and crafters to tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets.  Our shop and gallery now situated in premises at The Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, Durban, allows us to professionally showcase and promote the works of artists and crafters on an on going basis.


The African Art Centre recognizes and addresses:

  • The problems of unemployment
  • The socio-economic consequences of South Africa’s history
  • The need for all people to have the opportunity to work and earn a living
  • The intrinsic value of human dignity achieved through being able to work
  • The need to kindle and stimulate self-motivation through acquired skills
  • The need to encourage creativity and innovation in the pursuit of sustainable growth and development
  • The cultural and creative industries as a driver and enabler of economic development and social development