“FREEDOM CANNOT BE ACHIEVED UNLESS THE WOMEN HAVE BEEN EMANCIPATED FROM ALL FORMS OF OPPRESSION.” -NELSON MANDELA-

Bonisiwe Tembe (left) and Nontobeko Mzileni (right)

In 2012, the Siyazisiza Trust pioneered a groundbreaking Craft Enterprise Development Programme which resulted in the establishment of five craft marketing and sales enterprises which are owned and managed by rural entrepreneurs who serve rural craft producers with marketing and sale of their produce. The objective of the initiative is to create sustainable self-employment and income earning opportunities for both members of craft marketing entities and rural craft producers across Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Matombi Women in Craft, is one of the five craft marketing and sales businesses developed through the Trust’s enterprise development initiative. The business is owned and managed by two dynamic young female entrepreneurs, Bonisiwe Tembe and Nontobeko Mzileni, and is located in Mkuze in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Prior to joining the Trust’s entrepreneurship programme, 32-year old Bonisiwe worked as a till-operator at a fuel station in Mkuze and 32-year old married mother of three, Nontobeko was unemployed. Like so many educated youth in South Africa, Bonisiwe – holding a certificate in business administration – and Nontobeko – holding a BA degree in administration – found it extremely difficult to find suitable employment.

Under the mentorship of the Trust both Bonisiwe and Nontobeko have acquired a vast amount of knowledge and skills. They have also benefitted from extensive training and mentoring in advanced business management, a sizable start-up capital injection and access to rural craft producers – and through the Trust, domestic and international buyers.

Matombi Woman in Craft, continues to grow from strength to strength. Its products have been sold to notable domestic and foreign buyers including Woolworths, Cecil & Boyd, Odeon and, through SOURCE Design SA, the Conran Shop London. To date the business has earned over one million rand in sales and its well-deserved success has had a ripple effect – benefiting over one hundred-and-fifty female craft producers with income earning opportunities. Talk about women empowerment!

‘To be an entrepreneur is everybody’s dream but it is difficult without support. I thank the Siyazisiza Trust for this opportunity, the trainings, mentoring, start-up capital and guidance.   This opportunity has greatly impacted my life and the lives of my family. Running my own business is life changing and I believe that through persistence and, most importantly, self-belief we will continue to reach our goals.’ –Nontobeko Mzileni: Matombi Woman in Craft business owner