Handmade in South Africa: Mzansi Store

 Updated February 2020.

“Support Local” and “Handmade in South Africa” are probably two of the most important things in Deidré Luzmore’s world. Deidré is born in South Africa and loves her country dearly. She always wondered why not show what her exceptionally beautiful country has to offer to people around the world? It sounds like such an obvious thing to do, but no one had done it before her, at least not like this.

Cape Town has been voted the World Design Capital 2014, and if you have ever been to this city, you surely understand why. It changed massively over the last 6 or 10 years. This place is vibrant, it is full of energy, people are willing to bring on change, and you never really know what is going to happen tomorrow. Everyone is in a state of constant great anticipation, it really is contagious.

On the one side, there are all these talented South African designers and on the other side there are all the customers who would certainly want to buy amazing creations, but how are these two groups supposed to ever find each other? Most often the designers would sell their wares at neighbourhood markets, and as we all know, no one of us can visit every single market which is out there, meaning, the designers needed a platform as a way to reach out to customers.

In our day and age, there are only a few who are still scared of the internet. For most of us it already is natural to book flights, order groceries and laundry services online, we really buy most stuff on eMarketplaces’ these days. Sounds like a simple solution for designers, but we have to be honest here. Not every designer has automatically got the skills and knowledge of how to best market products and not everyone can afford to hire someone to build their homepage. Deidré clearly saw this and without hesitation, the Mzansi Store was born. What does Mzansi mean? It is the Xhosa word for South Africa.

Artisans based in South Africa who let's say, create recycled Skateboard sunglasses, Protea tote bags, Shweshwe dresses, or wooden Zebra cutting boards now work with Store and offer and promote their goods in their own country and internationally. Deidré fulfilled her dream, she shows the world what South Africa has to offer, and with that, she generates income for local designers. I love to buy from local designers and shops when in Cape Town.

From Berlin with love