a project of the heart by

. . . come with me for a little insight into this extraordinary project,

which I brought to life together with masifunde. . .

izandla zethu
Michaela Römer

izandla zethu

izandla zethu means our hands in the isiXhosa language.

Our hands are made to move and create things.


This thought inspired me to start the project izandla zethu in South Africa,

On this page I would like to give you an insight into this adventure and start in the present. So the further you read, the more you will learn about the creation and development of this project, which is integrated into the programs of masifunde.


In the izandla zethu workshop in Walmer Township, Gqeberha, three trainees learn the basics of goldsmithing in a five-month training course under the guidance of our trainer Phelelani. The training is intended to support in particular young people who cannot find a job after finishing high school or who have dropped out of the formal schooling system.

The participants not only learn to lovingly handcraft necklaces, earrings, bracelets and key rings out of very special materials, but also to deal with the importance of our upcycling concept. In Walmer Township, they collect raw materials and at the same time look for new and innovative ways to reuse materials.

We use corrugated iron as the central basic material, which the residents of South Africa's townships often use to build their huts. We shape and process the material, which basically symbolizes the poverty in these places, and transform it into beautiful pieces of jewellery. In addition, we work with recycled copper wires, colored cotton yarn and leather cords and have just started to process used brass as well.


Beyond sustainable upcycling, this project sends the message to the young participants to open their eyes to existing opportunities in their immediate environment, to perceive their own abilities and to use them creatively.

As part of the masifunde programme, the trainees - guided by youth workers and social workers - also create a tailor-made plan for their future after completing their training at izandla zethu..

The participants are sustainably prepared for their specific goals, such as further education, a new job or self-employment. At the same time, they can take part in skills development training courses to further develop their skills.

The youth at Izandla Zethu receive a monthly stipend during the training cycle and are able to cover their living expenses. After completing their education, several of our trained young people have either embarked on an entrepreneurial path, enrolled in college or found employment.


They also get the chance to become self-employed sales representatives for our handmade jewellery. Not only does this help generate income, but it also goes hand in hand with their training to develop entrepreneurial skills.

Participants can use this as a stepping stone to their own entrepreneurial journey and to start their own business.

March 2022 - Next level for tools and knowledge

In the three weeks of my last visit in April 2022, we worked so to say day and night. We completely restored the workshop so our three trainees and our trainer Phelelani have the best possible equipment in terms of workplaces and tools.

I had five new goldsmith tables made from old wooden pallets by Lubs' workshop in Walmer Township. In addition, a stable workbench on which forging and welding work can be carried out in the future. Together with our coordinator Fatima, we bought new, high-quality chairs on which you can sit ergonomically all day and work without getting tired.

We used the time during which we couldn't use our workshop due to renovation work - in the spirit of izandla zethu - to attend a ceramics course together...


In addition, we designed a completely new jewelery collection in this short time, with which we want to expand our portfolio technically and reach even more potential customers. Our major goal is still to fully finance the training of our trainees with the money from the sold pieces of jewelry. We want to develop from a non-profit project to a for-purpose project.



April 2022 - Our vision within reach:



April 2022 - Our vision within reach:

handcrafting academy.png

Crafts Education Academy

Almost four years ago, we dreamed of setting up a training center where we could additionally teach other handycrafting and entrepreneurial skills and thus offer interested young people a stepping stone into the world of work.

And thanks to the tireless efforts of the masifunde team, the time will soon come. The planning for the new education center is complete and we can hardly wait for masifunde to create these new, additional training rooms and shops around our izandla zethu workshop.

February 2020 - Most Beautiful Object in South Africa

In February 2020, izandla zethu was announced as the winner of the “Most Beautiful Object in South Africa” at the Design Indaba Conference with the handmade DELICATE bracelet.

What a special moment, what a surprising honour . . . It gave us a lot of renewed motivation to pursue our dream of helping young people realising the value their hands can create...

Corona unfortunately diverted our attention to other topics at this point in time and  the trophy - as a symbol and reminder that we are doing something unique, special and precious - didn't arrive in Walmer Township until one year later, but still  we feel blessed with the attention that has followed this competition. It proves to us that social and ecological responsibility is important to many people.

Here is an excerpt of the publication

November 2019 - Marketing, Sales and Mentoring