top of page
iz_ze Logo fre bn.png

 

After visiting my cousin Jonas Schumacher, the founder and managing director of masifunde in Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth in December 2017 I was so impressed by their work with children and young people in the township that I wanted to implement a desire that has accompanied me since many years right here and with these people:

Passing on parts of my holistic knowledge, skills and experiences that I have developed over many years to young people. Give people the self-confidence that they have special skills and can create something valuable with their hands, for example. . .  and the courage  to recognise and exploit their potential.

Kopie von IMG_6021_edited.jpg

"

We wanted to use my second visit to masifunde, during which my daughter Noemi Zoé supported me, to test our first project prototype. First of all, we wanted to find out how much interest and talent young people would have when it comes to this type of handicraft in a jewellery course for young people. . . and were completely surprised by the 'drive' and the commitment of the participants.

In the final discussion after this first workshop, we then decided together: we will continue and in a brain storming session we worked out what our project should be called. Very quickly and as if it had to be that way, it became clear:

It's about working with our hands. 'Our hands' means in the isiXhosa language  'izandla zethu' - and that's how we found the name of our project.

Back in Germany, we thought about what our matching logo could look like. Jonas sent us a handprint of his son Thabo and upon closer inspection we came up with the idea of depicting the African continent in the palm of the hand.

Looking back, I still can't believe how it all came together and we ended up with a wonderfully fitting name and logo.​​

September 2018 - The workshop for izandla zethu is created and our first team is trained

Two months after our first workshop, we were already able to start implementing our first concept. On the one hand, it was about masifunde to set up the premises made available in such a way that our training program could take place there at a good technical level, comfortably and safely for the participants and on the other hand to provide tools and a training program. I was so moved by the commitment of the team, who really gave their all. And indeed, we finished just in time for the start of our first training session.

The art project by masifunde . . .  As a "hands-on" activity, they gave our small building a new exterior paint job that fitted so perfectly with izandla zethu's idea. And of course our izandla zethu hand couldn't be missing.

With the first, very committed trainee team, we started to apply our training concept and were able to determine very quickly what worked and what didn't... what tools we still needed and what utensils were still missing.

 

In the first team, one of the participants, Luvuyo Pongolo, quickly developed into a real talent. He literally soaked up information about the craft, methods and sales - what a blessing. His enthusiasm for the project quickly led to the joint decision that he would take on the training of the future trainees.

Unfortunately, Luvuyo passed away far too early in April 2022 at the age of 35. Luvuyo will always be an inspiration to us and we hope his enthusiasm will inspire souls in another world.

The other participants will also remain in my heart with much joy.  Those were very intensive weeks in which we grew close together.

 

Café Mymito - another social enterprise project by masifunde - I would also like to mention here that the professional team has kept us strong from the very beginning with delicious cappuccino and healthy, hearty and fine snacks

December 2018 - The first orders, We-Design and new perspectives

what​ for an intense time... we were so busy and our now well-established team tirelessly handcrafted and lovingly packaged pieces of jewelry. For our first orders and, among other things, to give them away to employees at the masifunde Christmas party - a great order that we were happy to work for. 

As a little surprise and to intensify our sense of togetherness, I had team shirts made - also a small highlight. We also had small business cards printed with our new logo, which we could attach to all the packages.

masifunde had another surprise for us: we are allowed to move to other, slightly larger premises... and with a lot of anticipation, we were allowed to visit the building and the rooms so that we could think about how we would like to use them.

In order to get high-quality photos with which we can present our project and the resulting handmade jewelry, I have the photographer who lives in South Africa Khurshid Dustmunod, who agreed to a joint shoot.

April 2019 - New workshop, new people, new ideas

The time had come - full of enthusiasm, we were able to restore and set up our new / old workshop and design the outdoor area. There was so much rough and heavy, but also fine and difficult work that made our new workshop a new home for theizandla zethuteam. 

But it was also time for a change, a farewell... We said goodbye to our first team, which forizandla zethu really pioneered. It was sad, but on the other hand we made our first important move. The trainee program gave the participants everything they needed for their next steps in life. 

A springboard is meant for jumping off to break new ground and clearing it for those who follow.

These followers were our new three trainees. And how nice that our Phelelani was there as a trainee, who qualified as another potential trainer due to her talent, her motivation and her ambitions.

For me, it was particularly important to meet these trainees in person and to work with them a little on a sense of togetherness - how nice that we were able to do that this time too.