Sebenza aims to create employment for women in the Fort Beaufort and Alice areas in the Eastern Cape and the Eden District in the Klein Karoo, Western Cape. It is about giving the women optimal opportunities to earn an income and become financially self-dependent, which makes a huge difference within households where women are mostly dependent on the male breadwinner, causing all kinds of social ills.
Women in the community meet weekly and are granted the opportunity to apply their creative skills in all kinds of needle work and the production of beautifully crafted objects. These include exquisite girls’ and women’s dresses, bedding, socks, gloves, jerseys, handbags, shoes, dolls and dolls’ clothes, quilts, the stringing of beads, and beautifying existing objects through embroidery/painting. Older women still know how to make soap, jams and bottled fruit, for example, and all of these skills can be passed onto a younger generation. At the same time, they are encouraged to start their own food gardens, not only for their own consumption, but also to sell. Once the skills of individuals have been identified, they are divided into skills-based groups, to concentrate and co-operate on the production of marketable merchandise.
The Sebenza initiative is currently severely hampered by a lack of equipment and raw materials. We would also like to market the products the ladies made in order for them to expand.