Alright - first I should start off by saying that I just got home from an 18 day trip to SA and Botswana and had the time of my life. Was by far the most exciting 2 and a half weeks I've ever experienced.
That being said, I'm curious as to who makes all the little wood carvings and beadwork. In Durban there are a ton of shops lining the coast selling masks, wood sculptures, paintings, etc.
300 miles away in Hluhluwe, the curio shops were selling the exact same things. Traveling hundreds of miles South to Drakensburg, you'd see the same things sold there as well.
Obviously everything is hand crafted, since I could never find two that looked exactly alike. And the work is usually very good, especially some of the stone work. It's just strange how the exact same designs are sold so often in so many different areas. Are there companies that just pump out a handful of designs and distribute them all over SA?
I did go to a Bayei village and watched them make some bowls, which I was happy to overpay for. It's very different to see find something in a shop and to see something made in front of you.