Swaady Martin founded Yswara, a socially responsible luxury tea brand, in 2012 as a way to reverse the African commodity trap. The brand produces tea, tea treats and teatime accessories that are made ethically in Africa. The tea leaves are hand-picked in various plantations in Africa and the teas are then handcrafted in the Yswara factory in Maboneng, South Africa.
“We take inspiration from around the world but create a distinctly African product as our teas are grown solely on African soil and are all ethically sourced,” says Martin.
‘Luxe Ubuntu’, a term coined by Yswara, describes the brand's inclusive luxury business model, which offers economic benefit for everyone who contributes to the production of a luxury product. Whether it be farmers, artisans, artists or manufacturers, the entire supply chain benefits by having a market for their products and this leads to broad-based wealth creation in Africa.
“With Luxe Ubuntu, we are changing the perceptions of Africa and its products, supporting the conservation of our cultural heritage, and giving Africa a positive, contemporary image,” Martin explains.
Where: L’Atelier Yswara, Maboneng, Johannesburg; or yswara.com for stockists or to buy online.
This contemporary fine jewellery brand not only creates jewellery from precious and semi-precious materials; they also use found objects and materials such as telephone wire, paper, and cloth. Each piece is lovingly handmade by the owner, Michelle Liao, with locally sourced materials.
“I love to experiment with these [materials] in my range to create unique once-off pieces. My design ethos centres around my personal experiences in life and how these experiences can be reflected in a piece of jewellery. Choosing a piece of jewellery is an intimate affair. With the specially commissioned pieces, my focus will always be on the emotional connection a client will make with the piece,” reflects Michelle.
Where: Die Dorpstraat Gallery, Stellenbosch; a showroom in Tamboerskloof opens in August; via social media MICHL_SA (Instagram), MICHL Jewellery (Facebook); or [email protected]
Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
This is based in Victoria Falls, in the
Victoria Falls National Park and they follow a holistic approach to conservation to protect Southern Africa’s wildlife. It is well worth it to visit them for a one-hour tour of their high-care wildlife rehabilitation centre and laboratory facilities. You could also make a non-monetary donation – see the wish list of items they need on vicfallswildlifetrust.org
Where: Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe; [email protected]; or +263 782 799 006
This Zimbabwean company believes that in a country with over 80% unemployment, creating work is more impactful and sustainable than charity. Harare Collection is a fair trade enterprise operating since 2015 and creates unique and high-quality contemporary women’s wear. It showcases homegrown craftsmanship and locally sourced materials with the goal of empowering the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Being fair trade, they pay good wages, keep decent hours and ensure a workplace that is safe, non-toxic and pleasant. They also give their staff solid and comprehensive training in tailoring, which gives them skills they can use throughout their working life. They welcome customers to their facilities for behind-the-scenes peeks (by appointment).
Where: Mustard Seed Africa, 210 Upper East Road, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; at markets (email [email protected] for details); or hararecollection.com
Dolphin Encountours Research Center offers boat-based marine activities that include volunteer programmes, in-water encounters, holistic dolphin retreats and options for day visitors. They focus on observing dolphins in the wild, while following the code of conduct for dolphin care, which allows for dolphin-friendly, non-intrusive viewing on the dolphins’ terms. The company follows a nurturing approach instead of a needy one and no feeding, forcing or coaxing is done. The encounters are structured and used as a data collection and educational platform. This approach offers insight into the life of wild dolphins, while resonating with sustainable and ethical marine mammal tourism.
Where: Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique; or call or WhatsApp: +258 84 330 3859
This Fair Trade Tourism-certified community project works with over 60 artists and their families in Vilanculos and its surrounding areas. They sell a diverse range of arts and crafts, 95% of which are made from recycled materials. Machilla Magic works on a fair trade system, with the artists harvesting all raw materials in a sustainable way.
Where: 19 de Outubro, Mahaque, Vilanculos; [email protected]; or +258 82 393 3428
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Words by: Leanne Feris
Courtesy of Mikateko Media.