Soaps and soapstone

I have a soapstone carving of an elegant elder purchased from a roadside trader in Bulawayo. It cost me millions of Zimbabwean dollars. Selling crafts to tourists is one way of surviving the crisis where the growth in inflation has escalated. When I was there last year it was 1000%. Now its way beyond that. Problem is there are few tourists in this wonderful country.
In Kenya one of the soapstone artists and his community have made a breakthrough. They are producing carvings of the Simpsons’ characters in this material and it has changed their lives. The story is in today’s Independent (10/7/2007).
America it seems is forever adept at exporting its culture and values through the likes of Disney, Hollywood and now the Simpsons. Can the ever present Chinese hope to compete?

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