Ingelozi Eyetu

‘Our own angels’

The ugly giant of HIV/AIDS puts its footprints anywhere and everywhere. In rural areas where employment is scarce or non existent, families and whole communities are devastated. On the positive side, there are many at grassroots level doing something to enable communities not only to survive but to regain self respect and hope as they learn new creative skills that enable them to gain some income. Ingelozi Eyetu is an inspiring example.

Ingelozi StaffIn an impoverished area of the Free State, employment is provided by the owners of Oban Guest Farm through training local people in beadwork and other crafts. Last year, in spite of an uphill struggle, much was achieved. By working together with the ‘Beads of Hope’ group more ladies were employed. Craft work now includes making handbags. Working conditions have been improved by installing adequate lighting in the work hall and by acquiring sewing machines on loan (more still needed).

Ingelozi EyetuIngelozi Eyetu






Happily at the local Christmas drive 1500 angels (Beads of Hope) were sold. A market selling African artefacts is being explored as a possible outlet and other opportunities are on the horizon. In March 2008 crafts will be taken to the airports with the view to extending sales outlets.

Ingelozi Eyetu

Two ladies will be employed full time (mornings only), to enable them to be with their families after school. Plans are afoot to make tribal dolls in traditional dress. If this becomes viable Oban estimates they will be able to employ about 30 ladies by year end.

Ingelozi CraftsKim Struben writes: “All of us at Oban want Thembisa to know just how timely and significant your support has been. Every time we need to purchase bead stock and now fabrics for the dolls, Thembisa’s next donation arrives! A big thank you! We are also grateful for local Van Reenen supporters. I believe we are making a worthwhile change in the lives of many local families. Amongst those who are producing creative, unique and attractive pieces there has been a growth in self esteem and confidence.

“Sadly HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of some of the workers. Some young families are left to fend for themselves. For example one of the craftwork ladies supports nine family members, all of whom are incapable of earning.

“We have some amazingly talented and effective workers. Nothing gives us more joy than to lose a worker to a full time job elsewhere, who thus becomes more able to support her family. She can still make a bit extra on the side by beading!”