At first glance it’s the bright colours and intricate patterns that draws one to the Langazela cushions. Closer inspection reveals that the patterns on the cushions are hand-embroidered onto corn bags!
Langazela – meaning “the wish to do something” – is the name of the centre where a group of rural women get together in Nqutu in northern KwaZulu-Natal to produce these bespoke handcrafts for Africa!Ignite.
The idea for the cushions developed from seeing one of the crafters embroidering onto corn bags, just as an idle activity. Today they’re made in variety of styles and patterns, from rectangles to stripes, checks and flowers. There’s also the fish design, the kaleidoscope and fan.
While one group of crafters embroiders the patterns onto the corn bags, another group sews the backing of the cushions.
The crafters use only recycled corn bags, which come in either white or a light yellow. The cushions are available in four different sizes, with a choice of backing in either cotton or poly cotton. The 100% cotton backing is available in yellow or turquoise while the poly cotton backing comes in “hot” pink, bright green or navy.
Africa!Ignite have had a wonderful reaction to the cushions. “People adore them,” says Margaret Gribble, operations manager of Africa!Ignite. In February 2013 the Langazela cushions were exhibited at the Ambiente Trade Fair in Germany and recently they shipped an order to France.
Since each cushion is handmade the production capacity is limited but they can be made to order. For more information visit www.africaignite.co.za.