HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc369-70W
Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether on social and economic grounds, he has taken any steps to develop actively African arts and crafts in the Eastern and Central African colonies.

Mr. Creech Jones

African native industries are being actively fostered by the East and Central African Governments. Instruction in handicrafts such as pottery, carpentry, mat-making, weaving, basketry and thatching is included in the normal curriculum of Government schools and also of a large number of mission schools. Special training is given in such institutions as the Jeanes Centre in Nyasaland and the Munali Training Centre in Northern Rhodesia, which produce instructors competent to teach handicrafts and industrial subjects in the schools. In Kenya, a considerable amount of work has been done in fostering such industries, and instructional centres have been established in various parts of the Colony.

Instruction in handicrafts is also an important feature in schemes for the training of ex-Servicemen. In Uganda, for example, 2,000 trainees will receive instruction at the Civil Reabsorption Village Craft Training Centres in carpentry, brick making, masonry and other trades which are extensions or improvements of indigenous crafts. The continued encouragement of African industries is provided for in postwar development plans. In Kenya, for example, the encouragement of handicrafts is to be continued through the medium of social welfare centres, with a view to the development of rural or cottage industries. In Northern Rhodesia similar measures are proposed in connection with the general schemes for rural development, and in Nyasaland the establishment of a special arts and crafts branch at the Jeanes Centre is under consideration. The educational and cultural value of native crafts is fully recognised, but it must be appreciated that their economic significance is limited by competition from mass-produced imported articles.