Hi! My name is Rene and I am Dutch.

When I came cycling down the East coast of South Africa in December 2015 two events grabbed my attention. The first was meeting a South African woman in the B&B where I was staying in Kenton on Sea, Eastern Cape and the second, seeing the traditional necklaces of the Xhosa women displayed on the sidewalk of the local supermarket.

I stopped cycling and started investigating – first that beautiful lady called Maya – and then the two of us started looking at Xhosa beadwork together. We were familiar with the simple beadwork – bracelets, cup holders or key rings – readily available and made for tourists. But the broad necklaces, called Ingqosha, are more than just pieces of local craft or jewellery, they are pieces of art, they are a statement!

So our journey together began and we share the results of our search into the world of Xhosa beadwork with you here, through the products in our shop and our blog entries.

INGQOSHA is a creative initiative, which sources bespoke broad collar necklaces from local female crafters within the communities of the rural area of Ndlambe. The products reflect our passion for handcrafted broad collars inspired by the Xhosa culture. We believe in fair trade and fostering entrepreneurship among rural women and as such we carefully select goods from traditional and talented women artists within the Xhosa community.

Hi! My name is Maya and I am proudly South African.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

When I met René I was working at the Woodlands Cottages & Backpackers reception desk, serving others – and him – with a bright smile and finding solace in offering yoga in nature sessions to clients. While I was filled with ideas I lacked the outlet to grow and build bridges between our local communities. For me Ingqosha is about both the symbolic and concrete journey of picking up the fragile threads of life and combining it with colourful personalities – beads of hope – and slowly and sustainably creating an offering to the world that not only strings together a beautiful personal adornment but also weaves together lives.

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