The eMzantsi recycled costume, puppet and float-building crew are referred to as the mapiko crew. For a long time, we were seeking an African equivalent for the Trinidadian term 'Mas-making' – Mas refers to Masquerade, but we wanted a word that would resonate in the South African context. Following a visit to the Iziko exhibition 'Ghoema and Glitter' we discovered the Makonde word 'mapiko' (from Mozambique) which simultaneously means 'mask-making', 'shape-shifting' and 'wonder' – far more suggestive of the wide range of skills they embody and magic they create than mere 'costume-makers'! 'Amapiko' also means 'wings' in isiXhosa - eMzantsi gives mapiko wings!
Thanks to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the eMzantsi community-building project has been able to expand training and capacity-building opportunities for our local mapiko artists.