How it began:
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 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 an exciting career as a TV producer for BBC Sport in London; covering European football championships; Cricket and Rugby World Cups; The Grand National, The Derby as well as working at the ‘Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships’ every year; interviewing great players such as Agassi, The Williams sisters, Steffi Graf and gorgeous Goran Ivanisevic! I pursued my other passion; horses and horse-racing; working as a freelance camerawoman/producer for ‘Racing Post TV.’
But those were my young, free and single days! With a young family, living on Exmoor with my husband’s work (an equine veterinarian) I knew I had to find something to keep me sane! I had always wanted to start my own business. But what?!
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….
Last year I went to South Africa to visit Ma Philippine, Thandi, Lindiwe and the rest of the Zulu Ladies who finely craft all Zulucow’s bags, belts and cushions. Lindiwe very kindly invited us to her house (which she built with her brother Sizwe; and to meet her family)
Meet dynamic Lindiwe, another of the fabulous Zulucow ladies who finely crafts Zulucow’s bags, belts, cushions and accessories. Lindiwe invited us to her home which she built with her brother Sizwe.
Lindiwe is one of the talented seamstresses who finely crafts Zulucow’s Bags, Cushions and accessories.
Lindiwe showed us around the home she built; and introduced us to her sister and her family (who also live with her.)
Khanyi supports her 6 children and extended family on the wage she derives from this job at the workshop. Gloria, a single parent of one, explains how thanks to her mother (who taught her how to sew) she has a skill and as a result she can take care of herself.
Chatting to Khanyi and Gloria (two of the talented Zulucow ladies) who make Zulucow’s beautiful cowhide bags, belts and cushions. They told me how key these jobs are for them to survive; put food on the table; pay for the bills.
Lindiwe’s income from the workshop supports her family of four children and her sister’s family. It is quite common for women to be left with the children.
Gloria and Thandi explain that as sole providers, it’s their responsibility to look after their children; (which they do with this wage.) They explain how common it is for husbands to leave them and their children for other women! A pattern that is repeated again and again.