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Women of Wezandla


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Some of the stories are longer and can be read here in their entirety: 

 

GEZAPHI ANNA SABELA Anna has been working at Wezandla Crafts/Kwazulu-Natal since 1996. She enjoys going to work, but on Saturdays, her free days, she enjoys theza-ing. Theza is Zulu for getting woods from the mountains. This involves a full-day excursion to the mountains. 

 

NONHLANHLA MORGAN NDLOVU has been working at Wezandla Crafts since 2006 and enjoys singing gospel songs in her choir on the mountain „Rock of Life.“ She started off as a “chalk-marker”; now she primarily overlocks many products. 

 

IVIS QHOSHAGANI SABELA, part of Wezandla Crafts since 2014, likes the communal aspect at work – working together with everyone. Because she is a fairly new member, she is the „chalk-marker.“ She looks forward to work every morning, for she is currently building a house and can now finish it faster.

 

MIRIAM BUHLE SABELA has been at Wezandla Crafts since 1996. In 2001, her husband died, and, as a result, she had to stay at home for five years and couldn’t go to work. Now she’s back at it and uses work to provide for her and her children.

 

KHULUMILE ITONNETTE SITHOLE likes to listen when others talk about their lives. She values mutual giving and taking. Her parents separated when she was a child, and she quickly learned to take responsibility for her grandmother and herself, although she was still attending school. Later, when her grandmother required care, she started to practice beadwork. She has learned a lot since then and is currently making all the side parts of the bags.

 

SIPHENI THWALA loves being surrounded by happy people and greatly enjoys her work. Early on she started sewing clothing in a Chinese Factory in New Castle/Kwazulu-Natal, but poor pay and extended hours exhausted and motivated her to quit her job as soon as the women at Wezandla Crafts offered her a job as part of the team. Here, at Wezandla Crafts, there are no overtime hours that must be filled. There remains plenty of time for the home and the family. At Wezandla Crafts, she wishes to further develop her talents and evolve.

 

THABILE HAPPY GLORIA KHUZWAYO has been working at Wezandla Crafts for 19 years. Her aim is to bring the work into prayer. The morning devotionals help build her up. She, her husband, and her son work on the grounds, live in an old farmhouse, and are very grateful this life and the way they can live. Here she has learned sewing from the ground up. For quite some time, she has been sewing placemats, and, to be honest, doesn’t like trading work, but rather delights in knowing what she will be doing the next day.

 

MARRY JANE MUKELISIWE "MUKE" SABELO is 26 years old, and, because she is married, no longer lives at home. She also previously worked as an ironer in a Chinese factory in Ladysmith. Now she is happy to be here, because she earns more. It was very exhausting to work in the factory, for they had to work from 7:30am-5:00pm and often even until 9:00pm when specific jobs had to be completed. Overtime hours were not compensated. Instead, they were paid per piece. At Wezandla Crafts, there is no overtime, ever! She is very happy about that! 

 

ZANELE MSOMI attended school in Ladysmith. There was often not enough money, but because her mother worked at Wezandla Crafts, she could afford to send them to school properly. Zanele came during the holidays to earn a little extra money. Sigrid Dedekind taught her how to sew hats that she would then sell in Ladysmith for a bit of extra pocket money. Today, Zanele is a very talented seamstress, after whom the Zanele Shopper was named. She sews all the bags. 

 

SILINDILE KHOKHELIWE MBATHA is the youngest employee and has only been around for about a year. Together, the seamstresses discussed whom to hire and decided on Silindile, who was very happy about her employment. 

 

LUNGISILE SIKAKANE: In 2014, a new seamstress was needed at Wezandla Crafts, and everyone, albeit separately from one another, suggested asking Lungisile if she would be interested in joining the team. At home, she enjoys cleaning her house, has a passion for cooking, and fondly sews Shweshwe skirts. 

 

JABULISILE PRISCAR MKHIZE: After a number of heavy blows of fate, she came to Wezandla Crafts looking for work. She has four children aged 9 to 27. First, she worked in the garden, and then she learned to work with the overlock machine. Today, she fashions 25-30 pairs of slippers a day and is eager to learn much more.  

 

VIRGINIA KHANYISILE SITHOLE has been working at Wezandla Crafts since 1997 and acquired all her skills here. She talks a lot about her spiritual life and wants to be strong in her faith, but finds it very difficult to walk in faith. To find herself, she likes to go into the forest to gather wood (Theza, in Zulu). This gives her great satisfaction. Her favorite things to manufacture are cosmetic bags. 

 

MBHATHANI "MANGITI" NGIDI is the absolute best cutter at Wezandla Crafts. She loves the fact that she can make money here and use it to afford certain things like a bed and a dresser, for example. She is currently saving for a table. 

 

EUNICE SAMKELISIWE MAKANYA is a recent addition to the Wezandla team. She enjoys attending church services, having people around her, and working, after completing a course in „Home-based Care,“ as a village assistant, or family assistant for the state. Her favorite things to sew are children’s clothes and new designs.  

 

PHAKAMILE SABELA dropped out of school at age 17 due to a pregnancy. In 2013, Wezandla Crafts experienced a shortage of seamstresses and everyone prayed that someone would be found. This is how she became the job, for some seamstresses said that God had told them to ask Phakamile. Now she sews brooches on a household sewing machine. 

 

NOKULUNGA PENELOP SABELA had managed to make it to 12th grade. Then there was not enough money for her to continue her education. She accepted the opportunity to work at Wezandla Crafts and is now able to feed her family. She hopes that her children have better options and opportunities than her. In production, she seeks solutions and is pleased when she can find them and continue working. Her faith in God helps her accept her life and deal with the everyday problems. 

 

NOKULUNGA KHOZA: With her salary, she has everything that she needs. Previously, she didn’t have work, and now she is indispensable in the holding of inventory, the washing of fabrics, the reversing of bags, and the keeping of order in the warehouse.