The big, bold woven baskets with their contemporary shapes and strong, quirky designs are a world removed from the conventional shapes and designs of traditional Zulu basket weaving.

Yet Angeline is a rural Zulu woman who was born and still lives near Hlabisa, a deep-rural town in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal’s traditional Zululand area. Her weaving techniques and the materials she uses are also strongly rooted in the ancient Zulu art of basket weaving, which she first learnt as a child.

Above all, Angeline is a remarkably strong, independent woman who has succeeded against great odds. She has also managed to defy the cultural expectations of what a single woman should be and how she should behave in deep-rural KwaZulu-Natal.


Tshwane (Pretoria)

Mapula Embroideries will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. The project currently brings together over 150 women who have the opportunity to develop their artistic skills by creating unique embroidered works for sale. This income enables them to feed and educate their children and improve their lives.

Winterveld, where the women live and create, is located 70 kilometres northwest of Tshwane (Pretoria). Its history is complex and turbulent due to political, social, economic and gender forces that have left the area underdeveloped and many people unemployed, poor and vulnerable. Their struggles and triumphs have been reflected in many of their embroideries over the years.

The project is now run by the Mapula Embroidery Trust, an independent non-profit organisation registered in South Africa.


Eastern Cape

The Keishamma Trust was born out of the desire to give hope and dignity to people with very little resources and living in great poverty. It was founded in 2000 by the artist and physician Carol Hofmeyr. Today, the Keiskamma Art Project, the flagship of the Trust, strives to maintain the vision of its founder, providing a vital livelihood through dignified work.

The embroiderers communicate through their artistic creations the reality of rural lives that are affected by the harsh economic reality and unstable political history of their region.
95% of the team are women who are often the sole breadwinners for their families. The income from embroidery has inestimable social and economic value.



Kopanang, which means ‘gathering’ in Sotho, was founded 20 years ago in Brakpan with the aim of creating a safe community for women facing adversity and illness. Kopanang provides a platform for 50 women to learn new skills and create embroidery and beadwork that reflects their own background and cultural identity.
The project is run by the Kopanang Trust, an independent non-profit organisation registered in South Africa.

Many women live in the suburbs of Johannesburg, sharing rickety shacks with their families and a single tap with dozens of others. But in Kopanang, the sun rises on a new start for the women and children every day. Once a week, a different group of women comes to Kopanang to sing, pray and work together. They are given patterns and fabrics, hand in their products for quality assessment and are trained in new skills. They work from home the rest of the week so that they can look after their children.