At WhatWeCherish, we adore the brands and products we support, especially those that share our commitment to a more sustainable future. That’s why we’re proud to showcase Tsandza, a brand that embodies unique ethical weaving from Swaziland. Together, we can curate luxury that reflects African design’s rightful place in the global creative economy, weaving new stories along the way.
One such brand is unique ethical weaving, based in Eswatini, a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa formerly and still commonly known in English as Swaziland. We spoke to Kerry James, Managing Director.
WWC: How did Tsandza Weaving start?
KJ: Tsandza was founded in 1979 as Rosecraft Weaving to provide skills, training, and income to rural women. In 2013, I bought the business, impressed by its beauty and positive social impact in Eswatini, as well as its sustainable production methods.
In 2016, we moved to an 800m² weaving studio on our property, streamlining production and changing our name to Tsandza, meaning ‘love’ in siSwati, chosen by our artisans to reflect their passion. Today, we employ women and create eco-friendly gifts and products that are sold globally, proud to contribute to the growth of our community. We took the opportunity to change our name to one that we felt more fully reflected our brand. Tsandza, which means ‘love’ in siSwati, was chosen by our artisans.
WWC: What was the original vision of Tsandza Weaving and is it still the same? How has the vision grown as Tsandza Weaving as a company has grown?
KJ: We originally aimed to contribute to the local community, but since taking ownership in 2016, we have driven to become a global brand recognized for ethical production, craftsmanship, and quality products. Our goal is to disrupt the poverty cycle and empower rural women in Eswatini.
WWC: What impact do you want to make on the women and people of Swaziland? (In other words, how do you give back to the community?)
KJ: The unemployment rate in Eswatini is around 21% and 66% of the female population over the age of fifteen is illiterate. Tsandza aims to provide an opportunity for these marginalised women through training, equipping them with skills in which to generate income through their work with us. Women are the main caregivers in the family here. We know that in working with women, more of their families and communities are taken care of. Earning an income also builds the self-esteem of the women and allows them the confidence and status to have a voice. Beyond this, we facilitate wellness workshops and clinics and provide interest-free loans for school fees.
Artisans sewing the seams and tassels, all done by hand
WWC: What makes Tsandza Weaving’s processes unique?
KJ: Tsandza has a unique weave “signature” that distinguishes its products. Our design combines bamboo and mohair fibers, creating a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. You can always tell a Tsandza product.
Unique Bamboo fabrics by Tsandza Colourful Africa Classic Bamboo collection
WWC: What makes Tsandza Weaving’s processes sustainable?
KJ: Tsandza’s textiles are woven with manual floor looms, spinning wheels, and hand-sewing. We dye our fibers using wood-burning pots and biodegradable dyes, minimizing environmental impact. Our off-grid weaving studio features rammed earth walls for natural insulation and temperature regulation. We also prioritize natural lighting to reduce electricity use.
By using traditional techniques, we empower rural women and preserve cultural heritage. Our weaving process creates high-quality, unique products. We prioritize sustainability and environmental stewardship in all aspects of our business.
Sewing of tassels are done by hands
Hand dyed natural fibres with biodegradable dye. Drying outside.