Women artisans benefit from partnerships

The Corporate Gifts Category of the 2020 Innibos National Craft Awards was won by Zulu Mien in collaboration with the Rhubhani project.

Their winning piece was the stunning Bahlezi Necklace, crafted from sterling silver and glass beads.

Zulu Mien pays tribute to traditional Zulu beadwork, which is rich in symbolism, while honouring people’s ‘mien’. Your mien is how you present yourself and the impression you make. The brand has an ethical approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing and jewellery which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising the impact on the environment.

The pieces are produced in collaboration with women artisans, who share their traditional knowledge while being assisted in the commercial aspects of their work.

The Bahlezi Necklace was the result of a collaboration with the Rhubhani craft co-operative, a group of 10-15 women based in Vaalbank, Mpumalanga.

The range that was entered for judging was designed and produced collaboratively with the craft project and is named after master beader Bahlezi Elsie Mahlangu, who is also the leader of the craft group, which was started in 1997 by local woman artisans.

Pictured are the Rhubhani artisans.