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Route360 - Jimmy and Cor
Route 360 will be the first route in South-Africa that is a non-geographical route. It is a route that consist of packages for the visitors of Stellenbosch, which include cultural activities that were previously only accessible to local inhabitants. Stellenbosch 360 created Route 360 to provide a platform for previously disadvantaged communities who generally lack tourism infrastructure to enter tourism through cultural activities, using inherent talent and existing resources. Through blogging I would like to introduce these local inhabitants, today Jimmy (the potter) and Cor his partner.
Jimmy Datini is 56 years old and is a fantastic potter. Jimmy was born in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape and grew up on a farm. Jimmy grew up with clay and wire, craft is in his blood. He used to play with clay and built animals. After school Jimmy’s skills were good enough to start working as a potter in the 70’s, pottery has always been his way of making money.
In 1993 Jimmy decided to move to the Western Cape - there would be more tourists and so more people who would be interested in his work. When Jimmy came to the Western Cape he worked for different people. Jimmy has always dreamt of having his own shop, but this never worked out the way he wanted. Jimmy then decided to take in a new partner – Cor. Cor and Jimmy have been friends for 10 years, but only decided to start working together from October 2012. Cor has been exposed to pottery since he has known Jimmy, all the time that they have been friends. Jimmy tried to teach Cor, but according to Cor: “I am basically not the one on the wheel, I do the business part, marketing etc.” Jimmy makes the products and Cor tries to sell them at nurseries, markets, private and craft shops.
Since the moment that Cor and Jimmy met each other they were talking and dreaming. It took until last year to take the first steps towards the realization of these dreams. “We are dreaming of a mini factory. We do not only want to create a business and make money, we also want to employ people and even more important we want to train people. We want to train the people who would love to be trained, no matter where they are from, we want to teach them, we want people who love what they do. I don’t like people who complain about their jobs. So if we talk about training we really talk about people who want to be trained.” For this dream to become reality, Cor and Jimmy are looking for another place. The machineries, like two large ovens, of which one is brand new, and some wheels, are at the current pottery. The problem is “we do not have the space and the right equipment here, so we have to move to a bigger space.”
But at the moment producing is the goal, “We are busy selling the pots, that is how we survive, both of us”. In February we will start some workshops with students, Cor hopes to inspire them, but also hope that they can inspire him and Jimmy in return. At the moment Cor and Jimmy are in business training, here they learn to write a business plan and are getting good advice about how to reach their dream. Because of this advice, Jimmy and Cor decided to focus on only three different products. In pottery there is a wide range of products and that’s why Jimmy now focuses on plant pots, cups and wine-glass holders. Right now they are busy with the development of these three products.
Currently, the goal is to produce and sell as many pots, cups and wineglass holders as possible. Then the next step will be to produce cups and pots in thousands. “But yes, it will be a journey, it is difficult to say what will happen. But hopefully if the mini factory is there, there will be money available for educational programs, to teach young people new skills. And then we also hope that about 5 to 10 years, Jimmy will be no longer on the wheel, but supervising and advising other people who will be behind the machinery right then. Passing the old skills on to a new generation of potters.”