Meet the Artisan craftswomen (and man) creating Zulucow’s gorgeous ethically sourced Cowhide products.

Zulucow: Sustainably Sourced, finely crafted, Nguni Cowhide Bags, Interiors & Accessories.

Empowering Female Artisans

Zulucow is a socially conscious brand, producing exquisite, ethically sourced products, natural leather and high-quality Nguni cowhide bags, interiors and accessories. Most importantly all Zulucow’s pieces are sustainably sourced, by-products of the food industry and consequently nothing goes to waste. All of our unique cowhide pieces are designed and handmade in collaboration with a talented Zulucow team of artisans.

When you buy a Zulucow product, you are not only purchasing a beautiful, utterly unique, lovingly handmade item, from a wide range of ethically sourced products from rural KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. You are also helping to create desperately needed, sustainable jobs. You are helping Zulu women to survive; to put food on the table. We are so proud of our ethically sourced product range and want to tell you all about them.

Who makes your ethically sourced cowhide products? Meet the craftswomen behind Zulucow, each of whom is an indispensable part of our team.

Craftswomen: Gcinile Ntombela (40)

Gcinile is a single parent and the sole provider for her six children. Consequently, she supports her family with the wage she earns from the workshop.

She loves making Zulucow’s Ethical Bucket Bag.

Most importantly, she is the breadwinner. At the weekend she cleans and sews for her children.

In 5 years time, she’d like to have her own big house and to have all her children educated.

Nomzamo Nqolwana (28)

Supports her child, father, step-mother, half brother and sister on this wage.

Nomzamo lives in the local township and has goats, chickens and in addition a veggie patch.

She wants to start her own business and above all see her son grow up to be a “humble, responsible person”

Her favourite item to make is the clutch bag.

Thandi Khoza (51)

Thandi is the sole provider for her two children; brother, sister and father. She lives in a rural area about an hour away from the workshop. (Therefore she has to leave home at 6am to return at 6pm.) In addition to working at the workshop, Thandi collects tin cans on the way to work for recycling; from which she can earn more money.

Her weekend includes doing the washing, cleaning and looking after the chickens and cows.

She loves making the sustainable Bucket bag because it is a “fancy bag.”

Nelisiwe Majozi (39)

Nellie supports her husband, six children; her mother and sister with the wage she earns.

She likes making Zulucow’s belts and purses.

She loves to cook, clean and look after the family’s cows, goats and chickens on the weekend.

Khethiwe (24)

Khethiwe supports her mother and five brothers with her wage from the workshop.

She likes learning new skills at work. Her favourite item to make is Zulucow’s cowhide cushions.

During her weekends, she spends her time washing, baking and cooking.

Bhekizizwe Ndlovu (40)

Bheki provides for his wife, 3 children, 2 sisters and his brother.

He lives in a rural area without water or electricity. He’s built his own 2 bedroom house but would like a 6 or 8 bedroom house with electricity for his family in the future.

He says he likes making the Cushions.

Sustainably Sourced products.

All Zulucow’s pieces are made from by-products of the food industry and therefore nothing goes to waste.

Zulucow is proud to help to create sustainable employment and skills development and to empower women in rural South Africa (where unemployment is well over 60%). To sum up, our fabulous team of expert craftswomen are the lifeblood of the Zulucow brand. Therefore, we believe in compensating them fairly for their incredible work.

I’ve worked with Nellie, Thandi, Nomzamo, Gcinile and the rest of the artisan team, for nearly 10 years and often go out to South Africa to see them.

How important is sustainability to Zulucow?

In conclusion, when you invest in a Zulucow product, you are helping to create sustainable employment where it’s most needed. A country where the unemployment rate is way over 50 per cent and far worse now due to the devastating effects of Covid-19.

In short, you are helping to buy a job, which translates into food on the table of many families. By buying a Zulucow product, you are helping to make a difference not only in the lives of Thandi, Gcinile, Khethiwe, Nellie, Bheki and Nomzamo, who all work for Zulucow, but in the lives of their extended families and communities, too. You are, in a nutshell, helping to fight poverty. Thank you.

You can read more about our sustainable message here.