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About uSisi Designs

Where we come from

The idea for uSisi (which means “sisters” in Zulu) Designs originated during the 1980s in the ethnic “homelands” of the old South Africa – the South Africa of apartheid and forced resettlement areas. The business founder, Stella Pretorius, worked with children suffering from disabilities, but found that most were also experiencing severe malnutrition, as their parents could not provide for them. Leaving the healthcare field, she decided to launch a series of income-generating activities for these parents; in 2004, uSisi was the latest such project aimed at giving disadvantaged South African Women a means to support themselves and their families.

Currently

uSisi Designs is situated in Pietermaritzburg where we have our offices. Our Producers live in and around Pietermaritzburg, Manqongo (Table Mountain area), Howick, Mafakathini, France, Ashburton, Kampuza, and as far as Ladysmith. Hundreds of women have worked with the business since 2004, earning enough money to put their children through school, some through tertiary programs, build houses and keep food on the table. Currently up to 60 women from different cultural backgrounds work together to craft the groups’ innovative products.

Our Mission

  • Is to restore the hearts of women back to their homes and families by creating opportunities to work from home.
  • Is to inspire the human spirit through excellent handwork and the fair payment.
  • Is to revive the creative spirit in African women by making beautiful functional pieces that are admired and sold all over the world.
  • Is to create an opportunity for multi-generations to dream and to see those dreams, of better education, better living conditions, healthier lifestyles and safe family relationships come true.
  • Is to nurture a general sense of purpose and achievement in their families and working relationships with uSisi Designs.

We care about the Environment and People

uSisi Designs have been a member of the World Fair Trade Organization for a number of years. We care deeply about all people and about caring for our environment. Our lives are interwoven by sharing our victories and struggles with each other.

We believe that strong healthy families are the cornerstone of our society. We talk and teach about relationships and parenting while we share our lives around a table. We encourage women to dream for themselves and their children and the world that their children will inherit from us: A world where clean water is accessible, air safe to breathe, a home is a safe place and our families our best friends and biggest supporters. But, most of all we believe that we have a purpose and that our lives matter and that we have been lovingly made by our Creator, in His image, to fulfil the purposes He had in mind for us!  

What we make

We are the first company that started making jewelry from Scoobie wire –similar to Telephone wire but not stolen – 10 years ago. Our unique and perfectly crafted products are designed by Stella, who have been merging ancient and traditional African weaving, platting and coiling techniques with contemporary colour ways. We mainly make bracelets, earrings and necklaces, using a variety of techniques and matching beautiful colours to go with anything in your wardrobe. We sell locally and also export extensively because our products are perceived to be “Very contemporary with an African flavour.”

How we work

We need many hands to produce our products and we are blessed with the incredible dexterity of the Zulu women. We continually train at the office when the Producers come into the workshop once a week. They deliver their finished products and receive their raw materials and instructions for the next week’s work. As mothers, we value the importance of being with our children especially when they are still small. This way they can save money by not having to pay childcare fees or daily travelling costs.

General meeting once a month at the office.

We care about the Environment and People

uSisi Designs have been a member of the World Fair Trade Organization for a number of years. We care deeply about all people and about caring for our environment. Our lives are interwoven by sharing our victories and struggles with each other.

We believe that strong healthy families are the corner stone of our society. We talk and teach about relationships and parenting while we share our lives around a table. We encourage women to dream for themselves and their children and the world that their children will inherit from us: A world where clean water is accessible, air safe to breath, a home is a safe place and our families our best friends and biggest supporters. But, most of all we believe that we have a purpose and that our lives matter and that we have been lovingly made by our Creator, in His image, to fulfill the purposes He had in mind for us!  

Address

194 Pine Street South, Pietermaritzburg, 3201, South Africa

Open Hours

Monday - Friday: 8am – 4pm
Weekends: Closed
Holidays: Closed

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