Artisan profile: Meet Anna Mahlangu

8 Aug

I met Anna Mahlangu at Decorex Jo’burg and fell in love with her beautiful necklaces. Anna is from Limpopo and she was supported by the DTI’s South African Handmade Collection to attend. If I remember correctly these necklaces sell for R450 and you can call Anna on 082 582 6381 (Anna speaks English, but she’s more comfortable speaking Afrikaans or isiZulu) or Connita on 079 542 8486 to place your order or get to Decorex today or tomorrow.

You can also contact Sarah Zitha at Siyaphothela Art and Craft on +27 71 518 1404


The Topsy Foundation Tinyiko Sewing Project

21 Jul

The Tinyiko Sewing Project was started in 2009 at the Topsy Sanctuary in Grootvlei. Building on the success of the “Shukushukuma” Beadwork project it was decided that there was ample opportunity to build another social enterprise within Topsy.

HIV and AIDS is a disease exacerbated by poverty. When people have skills, they are more likely to find or create work, which provides an income, and better enables households to deal with poverty.

Masterminded by Tina Craig of ilithuba, the Tinyiko Sewing Project is set apart from other social enterprises by the partnership between our Core Group (located in Grootvlei) and the Tinyiko Circle Banks (located within a 70km radius.)

The Tinyiko Circle Banks were formed to allow participants who could not attend Tinyiko daily to work independently and still partake in learning skills and earning an income. The purpose of the Patch Bank is to make and apply “circles” to products which are then returned to the Sewing Room for completion of marketable and saleable products.

In 2010 – to coincide with Topsy’s 10th birthday – the Tinyiko Sewing Project launched their “Circles for Life” Product Range. Combining the power of the circle as an object and symbolizing the circle of care offered to all patients by all staff members of the Topsy Foundation at the Sanctuary, we have been able to make many striking products.

We invite you to view our range of products email or call (011) 709 9699.  For more information on the Topsy Foundation visit

The Heartfelt Community Upliftment Project

16 Jul

Heartfelt is a community upliftment project set up in South Africa. It employes local women from rural communities to create beautiful hand-sewn products made from felt. It also helps to fight HIV/AIDS & other socio-economic issues within the local community.

“Martha Letsoalo started the heartfelt project with Julie Hadley after her son Emanuel died in prison wrongly accused and sadly abused at the age of 25. His files to this day have never been found.

The heartfelt project is her story. It’s about who she is. It’s about her children. It’s about the lives of the women and families in her community. It’s about the sadness that happens on a daily basis in a little place called Makapanstad. And the big difference one small heart can make to the happiness of others.

Together, Martha and Julie started creating and designing the heartfelt products using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. Today they are sold within South Africa and the UK. There are now ten women employed by the heartfelt project. Each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each heartfelt design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference – not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live.

Each heart sold by the heartfelt project helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. It also gives back to the community by donating a small portion to a local charity to help fight TB, HIV/AIDS and look after children and old aged men and woman within Makapanstad. Its aim is to heal the hearts of people who don’t have the opportunities we have on a daily basis. And to fill not only the ladies hearts but many others with hope.”

Meet the Ladies behind these beautiful felt pieces HERE.

Visit the site:


Great Kenyan Initiative: Fashion. Love, Africa.

13 Jul

“Fashion. love, Africa designs and purchases hand knitted bags constructed from post consumer plastic bags gathered and woven by female residents living in the garbage slum of Nakuru, Kenya. Each bag is purchased directly from the woman who constructed it, allowing her a consistent source of income. ”

Click on the images below to enlarge:

Artisan Profile: Meet Beatrice

30 Jun

Emile from Starling and Hero Bicycles has adopted Beatrice as his artisan. She makes their lovely bicycle baskets and he loves working with her.

“Meet Beatrice Moya she is the owner of (what we now have dubbed) Moya’s Murara. She loves the name. She says it’s hers.

They are the creators of our beautiful Murara Basket.

Beatrice is super friendly and very helpful. When we approached them about hand-woven bicycle baskets, she completely understood what we wanted. They made custom frames for us and each one is then woven by hand.
We at Starling & Hero are busy making a big sign with their newly acquired name, which they will add to their mobile stand.

Moya’s Murara also make and sell the following items:

– Cupboard: R900

– Dressing table: R700 (large) / R500 (small)

– Coffee table: R550

– Headboard & small side tables: R900

– Headboard & large side tables: R1100

They sell these items on the corner of Cassandra Avenue and Ascot on Vaal, Bedworth Park in Gauteng.

Please contact Beatrice on 073 041 7254 or Antony on 072 319 4810 if you are interested.

If you would like it delivered please contact Emile on 082 799 6906 and we will arrange.”

Thanks so much Emile!

Artisan Profile: Meet Robertson

29 Jun

Multimedia visual artist and designer Katty Vandenberge has been buying Robertson’s wire art for years. He sells his intricate beaded art pieces outside her local Spar and she’s decided to create a blog for his work. Read more about Roberston below.

“Robertson Yohane is the fourth born, and was born in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe in 1977. He attended Tangenhamo Primary School, and completed his O-levels at Zengesa High School in 1994. He then attended Wadjegora Art School in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe.

At the age of eighteen Robertson was forced to abandon his art studies when his mother relocated the family to South Africa in 1995. As a contract worker he was active in the local beer brewing industry, before moving on to data auditing at a food manufacturer. Robertson lost his mother, and two elder brothers by 2008, leaving him with the responsibility of supporting ten family members. He chose to pursue his love of art as a means of earning a living.

As a wire artist he is active in Pretoria, and has garnered the reputation of a fine wire artist. His work is unique and distinguished in form and crafting skill. Those familiar with his work seek him out, and Robertson is regularly contracted in to do work for embassies, shopping centre promotion campaigns, and events promotion companies.

If you wish to make use of his services, or you would like to commission an artwork, please feel free to contact him directly on his cell at 072 0295 612. Or, if you prefer, you can forward your requests via e-mail to, subject line: Wire Artwork Enquiry. Canned Culture [] in Brooklyn Mall also use him as a craft supplier, and commissioned him for their 2010 Easter Promotion campaign.”

Have a look at Robertson’s brand new BLOG!

Thank you Katty!

Artisan Profile: Meet Michael

21 Jun

Vicky Ross from Abby & Ross in Parkwood have adopted Michael as her artisan. His beautiful money boxes are available at her shop. The following is from her blog.

These handmade money boxes are so delightful and make for a lovely and unusual gift for a child or even for that friend or loved-one who’s saving up for a home.

If you look carefully you’ll see that they are made from broom bristles. Amazingly detailed and made by a local artisan, Michael.

I first came across Michael when my friend from down the road showed me the little house he had bought from him while walking down Jan Smuts. Soft-spoken and a little nervous Michael couldn’t believe that we had followed him up the road and that I wanted to buy more than one of his miniature houses for the shop. The first batch I bought were an immediate hit but unable to track him down on the number he gave me, I haven’t had any of his products in the store for a while.

Fortunately he popped in last week and I ordered a few of the simpler little house money boxes.

I was so happy when he brought them to me this morning and really hope they fly out of the shop so that I can order more and support his talent.

I think he would be a perfect candidate for the Adopt an Artisan campaign set up by Hanneke from Handsome Things don’t you?

He is open to different ideas and even asked me if I have a picture of my house so he can make a model of it.

What do you think? Can you think of something else you would like Michael to make? I would love to hear your feedback.

They’re in store now for R120 to R150.

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