Vibrant Gift Ideas Handcrafted from Kwa-Zulu Natal

Kwa-Zulu Natal Creatives

While out and about this weekend in my home city of Durban, I met some incredibly talented creatives making awe inspiring designs and products.  If you are looking for a gift this season there is something special about buying something that is authentic and handcrafted, it is equally special to receive a gift that has a true story to it. I only scratched the surface, but this  is a list of the beautiful items I found this weekend.

African Bags and Products with Exquisite Zulu Bead Detail

Muhle Africa design contemporary bags and products with a contemporary African Style. Vibrant combinations of traditional South African Shwe-Shwe fabrics and exquisite Zulu beadwork are used, making these pieces of art. Muhle works with rural “self-help” initiatives based in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and provides income to local Zulu women who support their families. These products can be found at the KZN SA Gallery and the I heart Market.

African Style Handcrafted Bages with Zulu Beadwork

Unique fashion accessories by Mamas for Mamas

Colourful Gift Ideas - Handcrafted in Durban, South Africa

I loved the headband Ashle owner of  Kanagama was wearing. This is just one of  the many products she, together with her growing team of African women have lovingly made. Her passion for the products she makes is clear when you talk to her, in fact she was busy knitting a headband when I met her. The unique items are made from 100% organic hand dyed cotton yarn locally sourced in South Africa. Her beautiful fabric is sourced throughout Africa.  She has a saying “Let your Africanness shine everyday” encouraging others to wear a little something hand made in Africa makes you feel proud and lifts your spirits – I have to agree. New Moms will love her African Print Baby Wrap. 

Colourful Gift Ideas - Handcrafted in Durban, South Africa
African Print Baby Wrap by Kangamama. Image:

African Chic Fashion

My favourite fashion brand is KZN based. All the fashion in the ELLA SOL collection is passionately crafted in Durban, South Africa. How stunning is this shirt dress from the African Chic range?

Ell Sol African Chic Fashion
Image: @caseyprattphoto

African Print Fashion, Purses and Mens Ties 

I came across another vibrant African fashion brand at the I Heart Market. Designed by beautiful Zama Nana Nsele from African Glamour Collective. Her designs which include a clothing line, bags and ties can also be found at the KZN SA Gallery.

Colourful Gift Ideas - Handcrafted in Durban, South Africa

Super Stylish Zulu Beaded Watches 

I love the incredible artistry of Zulu beadwork, and how good does it look as a watch strap?  These watches are from LN Watch and are priced from R500. Check out their very cool Instagram page – @lnwatch

Zulu Beadwork Watches

Macrame Sling Bags and Wall Hangings 

It was great to meet Macrame Designer Hlah from Knot Again. Her vibrant Macrame sling bags could not be missed, this is definitely macrame with a modern twist. Have a look at her website Knot Again where you will find other items she makes from beautiful sling bags, to plant holders, lamp shades and even sandals.

Colourful Gift Ideas - Handcrafted in Durban, South Africa

Original “Under the Sun” Acrylic Paintings 

Artist Lumkile Mzayiya

Lumkile Mzayiya is the most humble and talented artist. I met him at the Wonder Market in Umhlanga, I loved his acrylic paintings and he was happy to let me go through the lot – even though I bought the first one I saw and was drawn to. Themed “Under the Sun” each one references a bit of Africa under the sun. Imagine a collection of these original paintings all framed in white. I am definitely going back for more and feel so lucky to have one of his paintings. You can see more of his work on Instagram @lulongwe1989

African Art - Acylic paintings

Grow your own Edible Flowers and Strawberry Popcorn

For a unique prezzie these Super Sprout bars of organic seeds are amazing. Edible Flowers, Vegetables, Herbs and Strawberry Popcorn are some of the choices available – I have to admit the bars attracted me because they looked like chocolate at first. The bar is placed in a container with water and the seeds sprout. 

Colourful Gift Ideas - Handcrafted in Durban, South Africa

Handcrafted Telephone Wire Baskets 

Ooh Kamba operates in the arts and crafts sector as a marketer of products which have been produced by rural based crafters who are mostly set up as co-operatives.I found them at the I Heart Market but the products can also be found at the KZN SA Gallery.

Telephone Wire Handcrafted Baskets

Recycled Indoor and Outdoor Furniture

All Hand Done is a South African youth empowering company that makes all their products locally. Their range includes indoor and outdoor furniture made from poly-wicker and recycled plastic – available in 20 colours, They also make sculptures using old car parts and recycled materials. I got the family to pose on the beautiful red Malawi style chairs.

Vibrant Durban Creatives
Pink Flamingos

So, if you are stuck looking for a gift this festive season, think about buying something hand made and support arts and crafts. There is something so special about supporting these amazing talented creatives and it is almost guaranteed to be loved by the person receiving it.

Here’s another recycled plastic chair by All Hand Done – featuring me in my 2019 Colour of the Year – Living Coral – frock. More on this colour soon.

Have a wonderful week 

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