Crafters in the KwazuluNatal Region of South Africa are selected to work on various projects with the purpose of providing a skill that will generate an income for people from various communities, either with high unemployment, single mothers or people living with HIV and AIDS from established support groups in South Africa.
Crafters work from their homes in the townships. Raw materials are issued to each of the crafters and, on completion, the stock is delivered by them back to the project centres. Completed crafts are quality checked, new orders are issued, new raw materials issued and payment is made directly into the crafters' bank accounts based on each completed order. Income earned by the crafters allows them to provide shelter, food, clothing and education for their children and families.
Zuza Trading is proud to work with established non government organisations (NGOs) in South Africa and our goal is to secure additional orders to supply these crafters with a sustainable income.
What materials make these products so unique?
The Zuza Trading product range is made from various different materials, including:
Telephone Wire Art
The telephone wire basket is a relatively recent craft development which reflects the ingenuity of craftspeople. Brightly coloured telephone wires are used to great creative effect, decoratively covering objects such as bottles and walking sticks, or made into plates , baskets and unique Christmas decorations
Imfinginua or Zuzu Pearl
Originally these were used as teething beads and have over the years developed as a product for celebrating African craftsmanship. The seeds come in soft natural grey colours, and they are perfect for making jewellery, decorating, and even for our unique home décor range and Christmas decorations. This tropical wild grass seed has been gathered for centuries. when the polished grain-like seeds are mature, there is a perfect hole through the middle, forming natures perfect bead. What a great shape: Almost egg like, these beads measure approximately 8x10mm, and have a 1mm hole. These are very tactile and each seed has its own unique natural colour and shade.
Beaded Wire Art
Bead and wire crafting is an original African art form. African men would spend spare time, partially due to high unemployment, creating recycled crafts from scrap wire, tin and other materials. This has become known as township art. The wire framing is mostly done by men, as it requires considerable strength in addition to skill. Various individuals and organizations discovered this talent and assist these budding artisans with materials and training to enable them to develop marketable skills and crafts.
Many artisans, mostly amateurs, can be found selling their beaded animals and key chains on African street corners and at craft markets and the more talented artisans are selling their work at more upscale venues and for export. We are confident that ZUZA Trading wire beaded products are of a very high quality.
The Zulu Love Bean
The Zulu Love Bean, as a treasured African keepsake or gift, symbolises the potential in all of us to grow through love, luck and happiness and to pass it on to others. The Zulu Love Bean is as special as it is rare. As the largest bean in the world the Entada Gigas Love Bean starts its journey by escaping its massive seed pod (up to 2 meters long!) and drifts along swampy Zululand rivers set free to the sea.
The Love Bean (also known as the ‘sea bean’ or 'sea heart') is dispersed by ocean currents, often travelling 1000s of kilometres to find new suitable habitats. The tough outer shell endures the salt water and stormy seas until it reaches fertile soil. It is a matter of luck and fortune if a bean survives to take root and grow. The Love Bean is thus a symbol of perseverance, endurance, faith and resulting bountiful rewards.
In traditional African folklore, the ancestors come from the sea. Since the Zulu Love Beans wash up on the shores of Zululand's beaches, they are believed to be sent as gifts from the Ancestors, bestowing blessings of good fortune. Thus finding one of these rare beans is considered to be very lucky. Exchanged between friends and lovers it brings luck, love and happiness and is also believed to render one totally irresistible to potential sweethearts. The Love Bean is thus combined with traditional African beadwork, and is found on masks, baskets, belts and jewellery.
Shweshwe, is a printed dyed cotton fabric widely used for traditional Sotho (South Africa & Lesotho) clothing Originally dyed indigo, the fabric is manufactured in a variety of colours and printing designs characterised by intricate geometric patterns. Due to its timeless popularity, shweshwe has been described as the denim, or tartan, of South Africa.