Arts & Crafts
Back To Our Roots
Tsakane Tiba and Margaret Maggie Tsoaeli take life as it comes, and live it with a certain flair. Not shy to grab a dream by the horns and make it a reality, these beautiful ladies from Bushbuckridge and their colourful array of textile products seem set to be a sure thing.
Born at a small mission station in Bushbuckridge, Tsakane attended primary school in the same area before later moving to Tzaneen, where she went to high school. The difference in the various culture’s art, colours and designs were astonishing. Tsakane is used to a variety of cultures in Bushbuckridge; there is a diverse melting pot of people and culture, so much so that they have developed their own dialogue, which is unique to the area, while Tzaneen is predominantly of the Venda culture. Moving to Johannesburg, Tsakane encountered the Xhosa people and once again was opened up to a whole new group of people, colours and culture.
Margaret believes the meeting between her and Tsakane was fate, it’s as if they were destined to get together and make their shared dream a reality. They have so much in common, and both believe firmly in preserving something of the old ways and cultures. Both Tsakane and Margaret have always had a passion for linen, and along with their love of their culture and the age-old traditions, the solution was obvious. When they first met and realised how closely aligned and similar they were, they decided to put their heads together and brainstorm, and what they came up with was nothing short of phenomenal.
They combined their love of linen, passion for tradition and the beautiful and vibrant colours and designs from the various cultures into one aesthetic and useful product: Lesedi M & T Collection. An appropriate name indeed, as “lesedi” means light. Margaret and Tsakane saw this as the perfect way of preserving and passing on the knowledge of their roots, and preserving the different heritages. “Our children don’t have any interest in the past, or in their roots any longer, they are so busy on their tablets, the TV or their computers, that they forget where everything started,” says Margaret.
“We need to take pride in our heritage and always remember from where we originate, and what our forefathers held dear, that is what makes us what we are.” In addition to this, because there is so much mingling and mixing, much of the purity in specific cultures is being lost. For example, Venda marries Zulu, Tsonga marries, and Swazi marries Xhosa and eventually, the purity of those traditional aspects is lost as they begin to form new ones.
This led to Margaret’s epiphany of combining the colours and traditional designs unique to each culture, with something that would be used and visible to everyone on a daily basis. She noticed a gap in the market in that everyday items such as bed linen, tablecloths and similar textiles were very plain and ordinary. Both Tsakane and Margaret do a little of everything in Lesedi M & T Collection. “We are still learning all the ins and outs of running a business, and as yet we don’t really know what each other’s strong points are.
“For now we are growing together and getting frustrated together! But we are starting to learn just what aspect of the company would best suit each of us as individuals.”
We need to take pride in our heritage and always remember from where we originate
The design process starts off with Margeret and Tsakane choosing and purchasing rolls of cloth, and then pairing different designs and colours to see which match and work well together, and which do not.
Apart from these two vibrant and innovative women, the business also has two in-house workers as well as two temporary outside staff members who help out with sewing. While they are also part of the design process in that everyone who is part of the company is included in all aspects, the idea is for staff to move up.
For example, a seamstress will progress into the design team, and that way everyone moves up and has an opportunity to also find their strong points and grow within Lesedi M & T Collection, not remain in one place. “In this way we aim to empower people, and also make it more than just a business, but almost like a family,” Margaret smiles.
At the moment, the company designs and sells bed sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases, scatter cushions, towels, table runners, placemats, table clothes and even aprons. So, whatever your textile needs are, it’s almost a given that you’ll find something you love in this range. Bright, colourful, geometric, floral, traditional and modern all make an appearance and are sure to brighten up your home and delight your senses every time you look at them.
Get in touch
Tsakane Tiba on 072-871-9105
Margaret Maggie Tsoaeli on 082-923-6685
Their products are also available at The Market at Riverside Mall in Mbombela