Health & Medicine

Saturday, 23 July 2011 14:29

Rural project transforms rubbish into fashion

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Amidst unrest in South Africa’s clothing and textile industry, a rural project in North West Province is receiving international interest for its haute-couture styling using recyclable waste products.
For most South Africans, Ikopeleng village is nothing more than an unknown place in South Africa. Located next to the Ramatlabama border between Botswana and South Africa, Ikopeleng village does not immediately elicit any remarkable story. That is until you meet the women that run Itlhabolole Waste Management.

The organisation has developed its client base in Botswana, Johannesburg and Cape Town and has recently added Germany to its list and has been invited to Germany to showcase its products in 2010 due to its success at this year’s Decorex

Itlhabolole showcased its products to local and international designers at the Decorex, receiving overwhelming response that lead to stock being sold out in the first two days, as well as being awarded silver under the Best Product category at this event.

“This recognition is not only for the work that this organisation is doing, it also confirms for the women of Itlhabolole Waste Management that life is what you make of it,” says Potlako Ntlatleng, North West Provincial Manager of the National Development Agency (NDA), which has worked with and funded Itlhabolole Waste Management for the past two years.

Meaning “develop yourself” in Setswana, Itlhabolole is an apt name for this organisation that employs 18 locals, 14 of which are women. This organisation manufactures fashionable ladies bags, shoes and traditional Tswana clothing from plastics. Bags range from sling bags to shopping bags. The product range also includes plastic wreaths, dustbins, peg holders, mats and place mats.

The women are looking at building on their successes by establishing another project that will create additional jobs, starting a food outlet in the village, which sells popular foods such as fat cakes and chips, which has proved popular.

“In a time when concern over the environment is gaining much attention, a small village in a corner of South Africa is creating wealth out of the waste that litters our streets,” Ntlatleng says. In the end, Itlhabolole Waste Management can only grow from its successes. The journey for this group is far from over and the aspirations of the beneficiaries are to see themselves improving the quality of their lives and those of others within Ikopeleng.

Contact Details:
Name: Makgodu Tsehloane
Company: National Development Agency
Phone: 011 018 5500 /
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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