World Fair Trade Organization – Beyond Beautiful

gone rural

This is the story of a collection of Story-telling baskets designed by women weavers from the Lavumisa region of Eswatini. These pieces are inspired by the lives of the women, their families and their homes, and beautifully reflect the stories that emerge when women create together. The collection is part of Gone Rural’s Artisan-Led Design Program and represents the results of an investment in developing the creative input and ownership that artisans have in the products that they produce. The artisans have designed, named and negotiated producer prices for their own items. Additionally each piece produced pays a royalty to the woman who designed it, recognising the value of her creativity.

The Sitfwefwe Collection
“From where we sit in our homesteads, we can all see the Sitfwefwe tree. It is a thorn tree which is common across our region. It’s something that we all look at every day.”

Ntombi Vilakati ~ Mzamo Pieces

“My home is surrounded by trees. Beneath them we have some chairs which is where my family often gathers, and I sometimes sit here and weave. The wavy tops represent those tree tops that we sit under. When it rains puddles gather under the trees."

Ncamsile Zwane ~ Ncamsile’s Story

“This is the story of my family. The blue areas are my two sons and the pink is my four daughters. The smoke coloured section is me, it is the love for my family, and in this space I’m embracing them. The interwining top piece represents masculine and feminine and how blessed I feel to be surrounded by family. They are my everything.”

Busisiwe Langwenya ~ Busie’s Story

“There are mountains that run alongside my homestead, called the Zomane Ranges. I see these every day when I step outside. The indigo areas are those mountains. I have chosen the mixture of plum and mustard in the background to express that my life is full of so many contrasting emotions.”

Thembi Simelane ~ Thembi’s Story

“In my homestead the paw paw trees grow all around my house. When the rain falls from the corrugated iron roof, it runs onto the papaya and keeps it watered. Paw paw is great for the health, it helps with digestion and keeping the eyes clear. We usually eat paw paw after eating red meat.”

Nokhuleko Zwane ~ Sidumo Collection

“There is a drink called ‘Mahewu’ which is made out of maize, like a maize milk. When I make this at home I place it into a big ceramic pot, shaped like this piece I’ve made. It keeps the drink nice and cool. I’ve decorated the pot with foliage from the plants surrounding my homestead.”

Tholakele Gina ~ Sne Collection

“I was married very young at the age of 15. It was really hard. Things were not good with the marriage at all, because I was too young to understand what marriage was, this I found hard. As I grew up we had a family and now I have my children. My children and I, we take care of each other.”

Bakhetsile Langwenya ~ Thoko’s Piece

“When I first married my family was strong and in a good way, but over time things changed and for some time there was conflict. When our grandparents passed on our family reunited. The lighter area on this piece represents the family rising above all that past conflict. Life is great now.”

Happy Dlamini ~ Happy’s Home

“In my house there are two bedrooms and the central point of the home which is the dining room. There is a hole in the dining room roof so when it rains the water leaks in. It’s been like this for a long time. The speckled areas that is the rain and this item is the bucket we use to catch the water.”

Thobile Zwane ~ Thobotho Collection

“This is the kind of pot that I have always used to cook with. It's common across Swaziland, it has three legs and its placed over the open fire. The patterns on the sides are the leaves on the tree where I rest after I have finished cooking the meals. ”