Friday, November 25, 2011


Several years ago while visiting Swaziland (a tiny Kingdom) I had visited a small women’s development programme, on the recommendation of a friend of mine. The group, called Tintsaba, consisted of about 12 women, who had mastered the art of weaving sisal, a tough grass-like, invasive weed that grows extensively throughout Swaziland. The project had been started by Sheila Freemantle, to help rural Swazi women earn a living. The resulting baskets, were ingenious, as the women painstakingly hand dyed the grass threads and then coiled and weaved them into small masterpieces. The group has since grown, to over 900 women, and their baskets have gained global recognition, exhibiting in galleries all over the world. A focus on individual development has always been a core value of Tintsaba’s - creating an environment where the women can participate in HIV/AIDS training workshops, a literacy training programme called Tintsaba Reads and have access to a mobile health clinic. More recently, Tintsaba established a silver jewellery workshop, with the objective of refining the traditional coiling technique and combining it with silver to create a range of beautiful bracelets and pendants. A selection of the silver bracelets are available from Bundu Designs.


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