Ilala Weavers Hluhluwe Zululand, South Africa
Having lived in Zululand for many years we have never taken the time to stop over at Ilala Weavers which is situated on the outskirts of Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal. Not great considering that we have lived a better part of 40 years in Zululand.
Ilala Weavers is a family-owned business and is the largest wholesaler of handwoven crafts in South Africa. Baskets are made from indigenous raw materials and wire.
The establishment has added value to Zululand and provides:
- Much needed income opportunities for rural families living in northern KwaZulu-Natal
- The platform to keep handicraft skills alive
- Supplies to overseas markets
On arriving at Ilala Weavers one is overcome with a sense of peace as the place is canopied by trees, glorious trees, providing much needed shade. The birds abound and happily go about daily activities enjoying life in the fever trees.
Little weaver birds are busy making nests from the Ilala Palm and sort of chatting to each other under the Zululand sky. The area is synonymous with the Zulu women handweaving Zulu baskets, laughing and talking to each other about all sorts of issues and daily happenings.
Of great importance to parents is the sprawling green lawns and children’s play area.
This project is great and very heart warming. There are Angels against Crime, Angels for Peace and Angels with Attitude – who doesn’t love an Angel? The project involves the local community and schools and is extremely successful. The Angels have even gone to New York! It is so unbelievably inspiring for Zululand and its people.
Ilala Gallery and Curio Shop
What is really amazing is the sweet smell of grass which proliferates in the curio shop. The smell is both comforting and familiar. The shop offers a large variety of goods, ranging from souvenirs to clothing. No doubt you will find something to buy as all is colourful in this shop.
It is important to note that Ilala Weavers can arrange packaging and exporting of goods on your behalf.
Ilala Weavers also offers the following:
- Zulu Cultural Museum
Fascinating to see the old Zulu antiques and artefacts
- Sibayeni Nursery
A well-tended nursery offering a variety of indigenous plants at good prices
- African Art Gallery
Displaying art from different African cultures
- Fig Tree Cafe and Deli
Open seven days a week and serves breakfast and light lunches and has a full bar facility
What Ilala Weavers has established in Zululand is commendable, a “piece of heaven” in a beautiful part of the world. It is with regret that we did not visit sooner and experience the hospitality of Ilala.