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  • Africa My Bra

    More information about the project

    In South Africa “africa my bra” is slang for “Africa my brother” and “Africa shu” is slang for “Africa wow!” In this instance, obviously, “bra” is for brassiere and “shu” is for shoe.

    “Africa my bra” and “Africa shu” are the names chosen for the unique beaded bra straps and barefoot shoes made by previously unemployed African women. The packaging is environmentally friendly, made from recycled brown paper and the colour of the name represents Our Rainbow Nation.

    The idea originated when Dahlene Griffiths stopped smoking and needed a way to occupy her restless hands. Her clever designs soon became popular,
    but demand was fast overtaking supply and when she expressed her dismay at this dilemma to a friend, Di Thomas, who happens to be a trustee of the TCDT, their two minds got ticking…

    The Trust had been looking at ways to create employment and encourage entrepeneurship amongst women in the townships. Surely, with their strong tradition of beadwork, these women would be perfect “braand shu” makers?

    The plan was quickly put into action, beginning with the training of Lucy Susela, Di’s 2-day -a-week-char, who was desparately in need of further employment. She, in turn, trained and sub-contracted a group of women from her immediate community. These ladies are working from home, so they have no transport costs and no need for daycare for their children. There is no expense to the beaders. They are supplied with a needle, string, beads, hooks and the training to get started. Their creativity is endless and Dahlene has given them the freedom to be creative with the materials that she supplies. They are paid in cash on completion of each pair. As word of mouth spreads, the network grows. So far 16 women and one man are putting bread on the table, where before there was none. Some are still in training and many more will be trained…

    Shu, it’s so exciting my bra!