collective of a few weavers. Gone Rural has flourished into an organization providing home-based incomes to almost 800 rural Swaziland women.
“Gone Rural is a social enterprise that works with 780 rural artisans from all over Swaziland who represent 13 different rural communities. These women offer their traditional weaving techniques that are translated into contemporary basketry and deco products and Gone Rural exports all over the world. When Gone Rural was founded, the vision of the company was to find a way of providing home based income to rural women artisans. Income that they can earn while still able to perform their traditional duties and responsibilities of running their homesteads.” Said Mellisa Mazingi, Managing Director
Their range is based primarily on grass weaving. An entire product line has been created which consists of baskets decorations, fruit bowls, and many other products. All products proudly made in Swaziland.
“We go out into the communities with the sustainable materials and natural grasses that the products are made from and provide these to the women who then produce the products at their homes and bring them back to Gone Rural after a few weeks.” Said Mellisa Mazingi, Managing Director
Gone Rural’s mission can be summed up as – preserving the past, understanding the present and pioneering the future. And it has provided livelihoods for Swaziland rural women.
“We only had one group when Gone Rural started and the company went into rural areas literally looking for women weavers. Now we’re much bigger, numbers have grown. There’s a lot that Gone Rural has done for the rural women. They now have better livelihoods.” Said Zandile Dlamini, Admin Manager
The enterprise also has various themes including the creation of specific products made by generations of the same family.
“One of the projects is the song of the weaver where we went down to them just to get info about their family, to know better about their lives. We stayed with a family, a three – generation family, that does weaving for Gone Rural. We sat down with them and they talk about their lives and we started making baskets about that. Either their struggle or what happened to their life then we make a basket. That’s the basket we made here at Gone Rural.” Said Zinhle Dlamini, Product Development
The products are bought and sold globally, with big markets in Europe, Australia, and the USA.