As fashion designers from other countries scramble for the most expensive materials, a team of Swazi female artisans is using recycled magazine papers to make luxurious jewelry for both local and international markets.
Quazi Design was started in 2009 by Flotsam, a local magazine distribution company that later partnered with British eco-designer Doron Shalteil to grow the small startup to what it is today.
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Currently, the company has employed 14 female artisans who create a wide range of beautiful jewelry and home design objects from recycled magazine papers:
The company is one of the many initiatives established to empower women in Swaziland, the smallest landlocked country in South Africa.
By making handmade paper jewelry, these women, some of whom are single Mothers, have been able to take care of their families.
“Being a single Mother is hard. But with the work I do at Quazi Design I can afford my son’s school fees, his clothes, and to rent an apartment closer to work,” Cebsille Nzimandze, one of the artisans, says.
These artisans start by creating beads out of recycled magazines, which they then stitch with fabric from local markets to create unique beauty objects. They pick magazine pages that suit their preferred color palette and designs and only use paint when they want a gold finish.
A New Trend in Swaziland
For many years, Swazi women have been treated as subordinates in both civil and traditional marriages. In addition, with the new constitution, which was promulgated in 2006, Swazi women cannot get a bank loan without written consent of their husbands.
Customary law in Swaziland also prohibits a woman from registering property in her own name. It’s also not possible for a woman in this South African country to own land, a situation that has continued to put women in an economically subordinate position.
But with programs like Quazi Design, Swazi women are slowly gaining authority in this patriarchal society. With the lmoney they earn from these initiatives, these women are able to empower themselves and their families.
Learn more about Quazi Design here: