empowering South African artisans, zuluwomen, sustainable employment, cowhide, natural
empowering South African artisans, zuluwomen, sustainable employment, cowhide, natural

In 2019 Zulucow supplied school uniform, stationery and shoes for 9 of the Zulucow ladies’ children.

How it began:

Read all about our story of empowering South African artisans..

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa; I’m passionate about Southern Africa’s vibrant vibe; captivated by its beauty, rich cultural heritage and its fun-loving people. I created Zulucow out of a desire, to try and help create sustainable employment opportunities and to empowerSouth African artisans.and skills development in rural communities where poverty is rife, unemployment well over 50%; but where creativity abounds and the quirky African beat lives on.

I’d been very fortunate to have enjoyed a career as a TV producer for BBC Sport in London. I also pursued my other passion; horses and horse-racing; working as a freelance camerawoman/producer for ‘Racing Post TV.’

But with a young family, I had to re-think my working life.

The idea of Zulucow came from a family trip home to South Africa. I was struck by the distinctive indigenous Nguni cowhides I noticed for sale on the side of the road. Excitedly, I bought an Nguni cowhide rug, bag and belt home. They repeatedly attracted admiring glances and compliments back in the UK. And so it began….

What came next..

Over the last ten years, I’ve worked closely with a talented team of Zulu seamstresses: Ma Beatrice, Ma Thandi, Gcinile, Neli, Nomzamo, Khethiwe… and together with my South African business partners: Linell & Carina; we’ve designed, honed and developed Zulucow’s cowhide bags, belts, cushions and accessories. I often go out to South Africa to visit the ladies and their families. On one trip I interviewed them to learn more about the impact of these jobs on their lives. Gcinile and Nomzamo both single parents and sole providers, told me how key the jobs are for them to survive; put food on the table and pay the bills.

(For more interviews with the ladies, go to ‘Meet the Artisans‘ on the ‘Home’ page.)

For all the latest news about the ladies, new products and exclusive offers Sign up to our Newsletter!

Watch the story of Gcinile – A devoted mother of 5. She has learnt how to sew at the workshop and now feels empowered that she can support herself and daughters with these new skills.