Sandton gets a taste of real Mzansi

8 December 2008

The Mzansi Collection shop, which sells only proudly South African products, has opened at Nelson Mandela Square, in the luxury shopping mecca of Sandton in Johannesburg.

The Mzansi Collection is a joint initiative bringing together all three government levels, and the concept is spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry.

“The Mzansi Collection store has two main objectives: firstly, to promote sustainability, jobs, inspiration and growth by encouraging and motivating the under-privileged to become business leaders in their own right; and secondly, the brand aims to attract a high-end market of international and local customers,” Deputy President Baleka Mbete said at the opening on Friday.

She said the shop offered a unique balance of sustainable business growth, marketing and quality benchmarking, while at the same time inspiring, training and assisting local entrepreneurs, artists and the like.

The collection ranges from contemporary crafts, homeware, cutlery and kitchen ware, to handbags, all with an African look and feel. It also includes items from Gift in Cape Town.

Also in stock is fine jewellery inspired by the township game morabaraba, and Zulu Lulu’s quirky ceramic Dlamini doll, Sophy the Ndebele beaded Christmas angel, and Sesfikile Rainsong pinotage. Everything is made in South Africa.

Partners include the City of Johannesburg, Jobs for Growth, the Independent Development Trust, the Small Enterprise Development Agency, the Gauteng provincial government, Proudly South African, and the departments of Trade and Industry, Arts and Culture, Water Affairs and Forestry, and Agriculture.

“This store is just spectacular and stunning because it showcases the diversity of our country,” said Department of Trade and Industry creative industries director Nadia Sujee.

She said the shop represented a new mindset and approach to the ever-expanding demand for South Africa signature items. “The collection supports small workshops in townships or rooms in rural villages.

“We are really proud of this store, and we hope that it bridges the gap between the rural producers and national and international markets,” Sujee said.

The Mzansi Collection shop will be open until Tuesday, 16 December, when it will close for renovations. It is expected to re-open permanently in January.

Source: City of Johannesburg