The stories are inspiring, moving and excruciating to hear. They are about the tenacity to survive against what seems insurmountable. They are about the beauty of women supporting other women. They are about Mana.
A community of homeless women who collect plastic which is recycled and then used by other women to make a briefcase or handbag. From waste to fashion, the environment is preserved and excess becomes an asset and a resource for socio-economic upliftment among disenfranchised people.
Sustainability grows along with the earnings of the waste pickers, thereby reducing poverty, vulnerability and dependence on the state.
Two beautiful young Xhosa women, rural girls, raised in the Eastern Cape who came to Cape Town looking for a better life. Unable to find jobs, they decided to upskill themselves and other women in the townships where they live with crime and hunger as an everyday reality. Buying their product is a gift to their dignity and will allow them to pay the women from Ubuhle Clothing who make the beautiful amulet for the Mana project.
Jewellery creatively manufactured using pieces of the fence that surrounded the prison on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black President, was incarcerated for so many years of his life. The square shape of the pendant and drop earrings is formed with the intention to symbolise the 4 walls of confinement and mind sets that people face globally. It mainly symbolises the confinement of the political prisoners on Robben Island one being the man who became a global beacon of hope. Through resistance and struggle, strength and freedom are gained. 3 unique colour pieces of fence are placed into the square frame. These colours symbolise all the tribes and languages of the South African people, which is fondly called The Rainbow Nation.
Maria (not her real name), a refugee whose husband was killed in the Congo Rwandan war. A year later her neighbourhood was infiltrated by the militant MaiMai who violently raped Maria and her mother in law. She flagged down help after fleeing through a forest for 4 hours and the truck of men who picked her up and drove her to Zimbabwe, although feeding her, violated her during the entire 10-day journey to Zimbabwe. A kind woman in Zimbabwe helped her get to CPT where she has settled and where she makes beautiful handcrafted items.
Mana is striving to help where possible. A woman who came to us through the Mana Box project tried to poison herself last week. Unable to pay her rent for months nor feed her child, her burdens became too much to carry alone. Thankfully she survived and her mana came back to her with the help of our efforts.