I’m always seeing products from Asia in North American stores, but none from Africa, aside from the occasional food item from South Africa. So I was happy to read that a group of carvers in Kenya are producing soapstone carvings of The Simpsons and that Twentieth Century Fox designated the carvings as official merchandise.
The Tabaka Classic Carvers are licensed to produce 12 models of the show’s characters, and they are keen to expand their portfolio. Pauline Kemunto and her husband work with the Simpsons team in Tabaka; he carves the figures and she smoothes the soapstone afterwards "I don’t know who they are," she says about the dysfunctional cartoon family. "But I like them because I earn from them." [Link]
The famous figurines are about to go on sale in the UK at the Craft Village UK, priced at about $40. Mr Young says 30% of this goes to Kenya, not just to the carvers but to pay for the print work, quality control and packaging. [Link]
Enosh: "This woman, look at her hair. It’s taller than Mount Kilimanjaro."
Mayaka: "It looks like her hair is braided. Is she African?"
Enosh: "No, I don’t think so. African women don’t have such big eyes!"
Mayaka: "Oh, you should have seen my wife’s eyes when I gave her a gold necklace. She asked me where I got the money. I said I’ve been carving The Simpsons. She said, ‘Who are they?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, but the boss told me they’re a good family, no relation to that scoundrel O.J."