Swaziland: Sandanezwe Invader’s Craft

Date: August 17, 2018
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Swaziland: Sandanezwe Invader’s Craft and Lifestyle Center empowers disabled artisans and their parents through alien plants and textiles to make clothes.

Sandanezwe Invader’s Craft and Lifestyle Center is a start-up, community based social venture which has been established with the purpose of using Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed, paraffienbos, Sandanezwe weed,lubobo, gwayana, triffids weed, coacihuizpatli, Christmas bush) and textile fabrics to empower disabled artisan and their parents in making clothing buttons, clothes. Blind fittings and more out of the weeds blended with textile fabrics. The project was conceptualized in February 2014 as a school project by Mr. Mnisi Duma Ndumiso which was funded by Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) in 2015. Enhancing communities’ environmental literacy and foster conducted a research on strategies that can be used to eliminate alien weeds while at the same time empowering disabled artisan by having them create products out of the weeds.

As an Eco-friendly craft factory and store, it is aimed at redeeming flora and fauna from the ever escalating Sandanezwe alien invasive weeds and will be a gathering place to drive a revitalized community. The project is also aimed for Poverty reduction and income generation. Community gathering and community tourism development. To reduce alien invasive weed at all cost. To enhance Communities’ environmental literacy and foster continued research on strategies that can be used to eliminate alien weeds while at the same time empowering disabled artisan by having them create products out of the weeds.

The main activities:

  • Creating prototypes in a form of blind fittings and necklace.
  • Present them to Zandondo Community development committee and to the project sponsor.
  • Mobilize a team for the purpose of applying for the environmental fund.
  • Conduct workshops to empower community projects aimed at addressing environmental problems.

The project had a total of 16 beneficiaries, 15 direct beneficiaries and 1 online beneficiary.

Swaziland Environment Authority as part of its Environment Fund, has sponsored the project at a tune of up to E107000.00 ($8,453.18 US Dollars.

The biggest challenge so far is the lengthy period of the factory shed construction which took almost two years to complete due to misunderstanding between factory builder and lack of commitment by project members. Another challenge is shortage of food donation and extra funding to pay the trainers as the project itself will take time to be profitable yet the trainers are not employed and they have been relying on personal savings to cover costs not covered by the sponsor.

Mr.Kunene Sabelo had this to say “I am humbled by the uniqueness of this project. As I look back where it started (from an individualized concept to community involvement, it is worth mentioning to say that this project came up as a pilot idea that has never been tested in the community I live in. its indeed a solution to indigenous trees, water and wildlife extenction as threatened by the nerve breaking alien invasive weed popularly known as Sandanezwe Weed”.

People including the Zandondo Community Chiefdom, now believe that persons with disabilities, if given the support and equal opportunities just like all, they have power to change livelihoods and address global challenges hence that is why the Chief Prince Mahloma Dlamini of Zandondo Community under Madlangempisi Constituency, have allocated a portion of land free of charge for the empowerment of disabled persons. This project itself is at a development stage but comprises a mix of women with disabilities and their parents who are also women amongst themselves as we believe that women contribute immensely in their families’ economic wellbeing hence they need to be empowered at all costs.

The project has fostered partnership such as with the Swaziland Environment Authority at the moment and they consider partnership with other craft designers who makes wooden clothing buttons and bags for the training of the team on how to make and market the high-quality products.


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