Meet the Artisans
On this page we've included some stories and videos from artists and organizations whose products are available on this site. Each is making a difference in the world.
Bio-Imaginarte works for a cause: the world and all its inhabitants. Through the years, many hand made goods have been substituted by mass assembly line production with the use of machines. Bio Imaginarte makes an effort to combat the main cause of environmental deterioration in the world, in addition to poverty. This promotes that people instead of machines providing work while giving our world its proper care.
Ilala Weavers is a family owned business situated in the town of Hluhluwe in North – eastern Kwazulu Natal. The business trades a range of African fibre products, beaded products and other locally produced handicrafts. It is best known for trading hand woven Zulu baskets made from Ilala Palm fibres, produced traditionally by women in the Zululand and Maputaland regions of Northern KZN.
Ilala Weavers is the largest wholesaler of hand – woven crafts in South – Africa. It has played an important role in keeping handcraft skills alive in Northen Kwazulu Natal through an age where the local market for these products for home use has diminished almost to nothing. It also provides income generation opportunities for more than 2000 people in this predominantly rural region that has very few employment opportunities. Furthermore in supplying traditional Zulu handcrafts to overseas markets, Ilala Weavers has played an important role in profiling South – African products and cultural artefacts.
In 2002, as Zimbabwe refugees in South Africa, Gugulethu Mapuranga, her family and friends created the micro-enterprise of Gugu Crafters. Realizing that the craft sector in South Africa could provide a much-needed sustainable income, the artisans honed their skills and designed unique jewelry items from tin cans and beads.
While hoping they had found safe haven from the political turmoil and economic collapse in Zimbabwe, the group found itself in 2008 the victim of xenophobic attacks, with their small workshop looted. After two months, the group was able to purchase new tools and materials with fair trade customers advances and begin again making unusual jewelry pieces from their homes in Cape Town.