Woza Moya ("Come Spirit of Change" in IsiZulu) is the award-winning economic empowerment project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT). Woza Moya’s mission is to uplift and inspire local people and families in need through the provision of practical skills development and training opportunities as well as the provision of market access to local artists and crafters. Started in 2002 with five beaders making AIDS ribbons at a local church, the project currently enables over 1500 local crafters (over 98% of whom are women) to earn a sustainable income every month.
Crafters were referred to Woza Moya by other HACT departments and or partners as well as through word of mouth in the communities HACT serves. Every week the crafters come to HACT to sell their crafts to Woza Moya, everything from beadwork, wirework, woodwork and even crochet. By selling Woza Moya their crafts the crafters become both self-empowered and self-employed.
Woza Moya encourages the crafters to come up with new, creative ideas and, as much as possible, for the crafters to set their own prices. Woza Moya has a very special relationship with each crafter and takes care of each individual. The sale from their crafts is the only source of income for close to 95% of our crafters. Every item bought from us has already helped to empower, uplift and inspire and to give hope to a family in need.
Woza Moya is an example of an innovative approach to tackling poverty and unemployment at a grassroots level through practical and sustainable job creation and income-generating opportunties that at its heart, leverage and celebrate local people's existing skills and talent. It has taken a traditional African craft – beading – and modernized it and made it relevant and appealing to customers both local and international.
One of the biggest successes of Woza Moya has been its innovative product creation – from the famous Little Traveller beaded dolls, to the World’s First Fully Beaded Suit, to the Dreams for Africa Chair that sold at a record breaking R850,000 to a private Cape Town buyer, the Dreams for Africa coffee table book, to the yarn bombed tree at the front of HACT’s property, to the beautiful beaded necklaces in a huge array of colours and design, to gift cards, to the upcycling project that produces beautiful products out of waste materials – everything that Woza Moya does is innovative. It has popularized African beadwork again and made it appealling not just to African markets but to all South Africans and internationally in countries including Australia, Germany, Holland and the USA.
Woza Moya has received the following public acclaim for their innovative approach to economic empowerment:
- The Dreams for Africa Chair was awarded the World’s Most Beautiful Object at the 2010 Design Indaba in Cape Town. This project created income for over 100 women who worked together to bead the chair, which had been pulled out of a dumpster. Beaded wings in the shape of Africa were added to the chair and it became a chair of dreams – people could sit in the chair and have a dream about their future or the future of their community/country/the world. The chair travelled to Germany, Holland and America and all around South Africa, with many famous and regular people sitting in it and enjoying a dream. A coffee table book featuring beautiful images taken of people in the chair was produced and sold in the Woza Moya shops. The chair was sold in 2014 for a whopping R850,000 – money which was used for the building of a new craft shop on the HACT premises in 2017.
- Woza Moya was nominated at the 2016 BEFA Awards (Business Excellence Forum & Awards) in the “Best Community Impact” category for its exceptional work in empowering and uplifting thousands of crafters and artists from across the Valley of 1000 Hills area over the past 15 years.
- Woza Moya was a finalist for the 2016 & 2017 KZN Exporter of the Year Awards. The awards are a partnership between Transnet Port Terminals [TPT] and the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry [DCCI] that serve to celebrate those local businesses that are contributing positively towards the growth and development of our province’s economy and the eradication of poverty.
- In 2017, Woza Moya won silver at the national Impumeleo Awards in recognition of the project's innovative appraoch to tackling poverty and unmeployment at a grassroots level.
- Woza Moya won the 2018 KZN Exporter of the Year Awards in the Creative Industries category. The awards are a partnership between Transnet Port Terminals [TPT] and the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry [DCCI] that serve to celebrate those local businesses that are contributing positively towards the growth and development of our province’s economy.
- In 2018, HACT's Woza Moya Project Manager, Paula Thomson won the title of KZN's Regional Business Women of the Year Award in the Social Enterprise category, awarded by the South African Business Women's Association for her role in empowering and uplifting rural women in South Africa through Woza Moya.
Please support our crafters and shop at one of HACT's four Woza Moya shops:
- Woza HACT – Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, 26 Old Main Road, Hillcrest
- Woza Embo – Embocraft Training Centre, 27 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill
- Woza Kloof – Fields Shopping Centre, Old Main Road, Kloof
- Woza Windermere – Windermere Shopping Centre, 163 Lilian Ngoyi Road, Morningside, Durban