Gone Rural Safari Curios
Gone Rural Safari Curios has over 80 women making bead and telephone wire crafts in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Most are the primary breadwinners in their families. Typically, the women support around ten people.
Gone Rural Safari Curios uses traditional skills to produce exquisite contemporary Zulu beadwork, including bracelets, earrings, necklaces and mugs. Glass beads were first used as trading commodities centuries ago in intra-African trade. They are an integral part of the Zulu culture. Gone Rural Safari Curios takes pride on the quality of their work and its uniqueness and the particular color combinations used.
Gone Rural Safari Curios continues to help, develop and empower women in rural areas, who otherwise would have no means of earning a living other than from social grants.
Oh Voilà is a unique range of jewelry and accessories, designed by Barbara Kasasa. All parts are locally produced in Cape Town, South Africa, and handmade by formerly underprivileged women who generate income for their families.
Oh Voilà is using South Africa’s rich cultural heritage of the ShweShwe fabric in a contemporary, minimalistic way: Afro chic with Attitude. Every item goes through the hands of many skilled South African artisans; whether it is the printing of the tubes, the casting and painting of the beads, the weaving of the ribbons, the stitching of the leather, the assembling of the separate items, the painting of the silk ribbons etc. It is a joint and passionately African effort to make a unique piece.
Oh Voilà works directly with a team of dedicated women who are empowered to generate income for their families.
Thanda Zulu was established in 2008 to provide opportunity for Zulu women to earn a steady income and carry on a longstanding cultural craft. The majority of the women who work for Thanda Zulu have struggled for most of their lives to earn a sufficient income that will allow them to support themselves and their families. None of these women believed they would ever be able to earn an income through a craft they loved, were skilled at, and could do from the comfort of their own homes.
Thanda Zulu likes to ensure there is a blend of Zulu style and innovation on traditional design included in every season. They look at current fashion trends to influence new designs and color schemes. This is also a great way to keep their beaders engaged and inspired creatively. When they introduce a new color scheme or design, every beader has the opportunity to take home the colors and look at the proposed design and develop their take on the design. They’ll keep reworking the sample until they’re happy with it and then the best variation is chosen to be featured in their collection. It is a great incentive for the individual beader because if their design is chosen, they’ll receive all of the orders for that specific piece. It also gives them a huge sense of ownership and pride.
As a result of the success the beaders are seeing, many of them are teaching their children how to bead so that they, too, can continue this unique craft.
Incorporating a holistic approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust was established in 1991 in the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, South Africa. Since its inception, they have grown to fund HIV/AIDS counselors, education counselors, a 24-bed respite unit, antiretroviral therapy and monitoring, a feeding program, and food gardens project. Hillcrest also runs an income generation program for women. It allows those in need to use their creativity and earn an income as well as regain hope and dignity.
The project’s main aim is to teach craft skills to individuals who are infected/affected by HIV/AIDS through the production and sale of beaded items, ceramics, wirework, crochet work, fabric painting and sewing. It provides an income to roughly 300 crafters through craft sales. Woza Moya is their store and is also the name behind a number of well-publicized art projects, including the Dreams 4 Africa Chair and the World’s First Beaded Suit.
Woza Moya is an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. It helps those in need regain hope and dignity by getting them to use their creativity to earn an income. Woza Moya acts as an agent for over 300 crafters. As the HIV/AIDS pandemic increases, more families are turning to them for help, and they are assisted with training in different crafts. Woza Moya markets the goods made and operates a beautiful shop on the center premises. The project has proven that with the right care and access to medication, lives can be turned around. They have found that economic empowerment is one of the most important factors in fighting this pandemic because as it gives the crafters the opportunity to look to the future. In doing so they take ownership of their disease and have something to live FOR! The health benefits of this alone can never be underestimated.
Rosetta Stander created Zimele, meaning “people stand on their own feet” in Zulu. Zimele is a non-profit organization that acts as a facilitator, not just feeding people for a day but leading them towards belief in their personal ability to work their way out of poverty. Rosetta decided to focus her efforts on women as they are the care-givers and the nurturers. Zimele is currently implementing its programs in four districts of KwaZulu-Natal with approximately 3500 women actively involved with Zimele.
Women are traditionally excellent crafters in Zulu society and many rural women have existing craft skills. Through Zimele they are trained to make high quality items, using their incredible talents. They work with fabric, felt and beads to make a range of stationery, bags, decorations, home goods and jewelry.
The Zimele model works to empower women by unlocking skills, resources, support systems and networks, and create new opportunities such as local and international markets and links to government programs.