Abafazi means “The women” in Isixhoza and Isizulu.
Abafazi was established in 1992 by Ricca Turgel.
Her background is in product design - jewellery, leather, garments,
ceramics, textiles and fine art. She designed and implemented Craft Development Projects aimed at assisting Rural African Women to develop their own businesses while running her own company.
Abafazi’s focus is on innovative product design and development.
We use only natural, pure South African Mohair and Merino Wool of the finest quality, and employ ecologically sensitive production processes that do not harm the environment or the animals.
There is an inordinate amount of hand work necessary in the production of our Mohair Throws and Cushions. We have trained and employ 16 local women who have no other means to generate an income due to the remoteness of the village. The women are often the only bread winner in the family. By creating employment opportunities for them we are contribute to poverty alleviation in South Africa.
We believe that people are our biggest asset and encourage all our staff members to develop their true potential by offering them further training. Abafazi also abides by the standards set by the International Labour Organization and adheres to Fair Trade practices.
Our luxurious cushions and throws are aimed at the High End Home Decor Market and are marketed through local and international Trade Fairs & sales agents.
We have our own in-house design facility and unlimited access and usage of a complete mohair processing facility. This places us in a unique position. We are therefore versatile and flexible and are able to adjust effortlessly to changes in the market.
We have excess production capacity on the looms as well as many trained local women that are eagerly awaiting employment. Since there is limited room to grow our local business we are aiming to grow our exports by continuing to develop innovative and exiting products to add to our existing range.
This year's two new ranges were the "Twigg" range of throws, shawls & cushions made from Merino wool, decorated with beautiful ostrich feathers and crystals. The "Blommejies" throws and cushions are made from Kid Mohair and are finished off with cute little mohair pompoms. The women here in our Alicedale work shop called them Blommejies from the beginning and we all decided that that is a very nice and descriptive name for the range.
We presented these two new ranges as well as our already well known “Mink” mohair range of throws in January at Heimtextil in Frankfurt as well as at Maison & Object in Paris.
We were extremely fortunate in that two of our mohair throws, the “Mink” and the “Blommejies” were chosen for the prestigious "Trend Forecasting Forum" , a showcase for exceptional home textile products at Heimtexil. (Our luxurious throws had been chosen twice before).
One cannot simply book to be exhibiting at the ‘Trend Forecasting Forum’. One submits samples to the trend forecasting agency contracted to Heimtextil. They then select samples that they feel portray & reflect future trends from literally thousands of entries from all over the world.
It is “THE” most influential Trend Setter for the whole of the Home Textile Industry world wide, setting trends for the coming year and beyond – by identifying colour, texture, design and style.
Abafazi was the only company that was highlighted at the Trend Forecasting Forum for using natural fibers from a renewable resource, for using ecological sensitive production methods and for working in a socially responsible manner.
In fact Abafazi was the main feature in the “Natural Fiber” section of the ‘Trend Forecasting Forum”. On display was one of our beautiful ‘Mink’ Mohair & Ostrich feather throws. Our exhibit was accompanied by an interesting write up with photos of the Abafazi ladies doing detailed hand work.
We really felt honored and very special.
Since then we had many many inquiries from around the globe from potential distributors. But also well known Trend Forecasting publications are interested in featuring our lovely mohair products.