Ethical toys ‘born’ in South Africa look forward to meeting British babies

Here at Zuza Trading, we’re very excited to introduce you to our new range of gifts for babies. They are made of Shwe Shwe, a printed dyed cotton fabric widely used for traditional Sotho (South Africa and Lesotho) clothing. The fabric is manufactured in a variety of colours and printed designs characterised by intricate geometric patterns. Due to its timeless popularity, Shwe Shwe has been described as the denim (or tartan) of South Africa.

The ‘Birth’ of our Toys

Our little giraffe and rhino sensory tag toys were born in South Africa; their aims in life are to make babies around the world smile, to offer them comfort and to help them learn about different shapes and textures.  

Our newly arrived friends were conceived by Mathilde & Co., a small co-operative of women based in the Little Karoo (SA), who aim to empower as many women as possible in their small rural community by teaching them a skill, the love of a craft and business acumen.  Each of the toys is individually handmade from the best of cottons. Mathilde & Co. live, love and breath Africa and its colourful fabrics are their inspiration. From baby sleeping bags to soft toys in funky designs, everything they make is made with a mother's passion and care.  

The Journey Begins

A small group of Shwe Shwe toys left their small rural community in South Africa [when?] to embark on an epic journey of over 9,240 miles to the UK.  They were transported to Cape Town, from where they flew by cargo plane to Glasgow International Airport.  They were then driven from Glasgow to Bassenthwaite in Cumbria, where they were given a warm reception by Zuza Trading’s Claire Shepherd.  

A Brave Ending


This is the part of the story where we discover that our little animal friends were, in fact, brave heroes.  In order for their friends in South Africa to turn their dreams of pleasing and stimulating British babies into reality, this brave group of toys had to endure the EU toy testing process.  Claire bade them a fond farewell and shipped them off to Staffordshire Scientific Services Lab, having explained fully the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011.

Despite a sad ending for this brave group of toys (we won’t elaborate on the gruesome details), they gave it their all, performing to the required standards in tension testing on seams and materials, assessment of filling materials and flammability testing.  They passed with flying colours and now have proudly earned the CE mark which is displayed on all Zuza Trading’s sensory tag toys imported to the UK from South Africa.

Finding New Homes

In following the brave group who went before them, more giraffe and rhino tag toys are making their way to Britain in search of new homes. Accented with colourful ribbons sewn shut for safety ensures that little fingers don’t get caught and the variety of textured material encourages tactile play (babies develop cognitively, socially and emotionally through such sensory interaction).  These little beasties are designed to be cuddled and chewed!

So, if you want to help rehome some South African sensory tag toys, please contact Claire Shepherd who will talk you through the adoption procedure (and price list!).


Claire Shepherd
Tel: 01768 776 322 or 07718 221 591