The search for the perfect African American gift may just be found in South African gift ideas. Finding an African gift shop that has really top quality crafts and jewellery is not easy – there are a plethora of craft shops selling the same , or similar cheap crafts – but quality and originality just do not seem to be a factor that shop owners really strive for – Many provide African gift baskets, or beaded wire items – but much of it looks the same – often cheap and nasty. Unless one goes to the upper end of the market and looks at jewelry and home ware, it is unlikely that one will find anything worth giving as a gift.
Custom made cuff links is always a winner for men, but woman are actually the difficult person to buy for – woman seem to be more discerning than men, but if you get it right, they are also more grateful for a well thought out gift idea. Items like silver salt pots with an African designs are something that may work – it is an item that can be used for special occasions, and as it is silver it has intrinsic value – something that could quite easily become a family heirloom – passed down to the kids. In fact any silver gift that is well made, and can be used, is a winner. Silver spoons have grown in popularity after many years of being out of favour – this in the face of cheap promotional gift items and cheap arts and crafts. African Americans look for something that has meaning or a story – something that relates to their heritage and culture – even if that is from a different continent. African symbols that have meaning are often used in gift ideas. While African corporate gifts may help to fill the void of quality gift ideas, one has to search long and hard to find anything original.
Buying an African gift, one is often faced with rubbish – African gifts and promotional gift items are generally mass produced, as are many gifts from Africa. Worse yet , much of the merchandise is made elsewhere and sold as South African gifts – Good, well made, corporate gifts and promotional items from South Africa should be made by locals, using local materials – this is what overseas visitors are looking for, and it should be what socially responsible corporate gift buyers are looking for.
Not all men wear cuff links – and it seems that cufflinks, like ties and socks, are often given because they are an easy gift. Finding the right item takes time and effort on the part of the giver – a gift voucher is a cop out, in my opinion. It means that you could not be bothered to think a little, and your time is more precious that your friendship. Books are a good choice – but you need to really know the person you are giving to, and that is always subjective – the same with music or clothes. The African American gift business is growing, but it seems the number of quality African gift shops are not – they are filled with masks and fetish items that, while often valuable, do not really make an appreciated gift. Certainly South African gift ideas like African gift baskets are tired and old – what is needed is some young designers to take a fresh look at what African American want and like – and to stop presuming that this discerning market is interested in dusty African relics and craft that is often not good to look at, and means little in terms of history and culture.