Ikamva Design is a social enterprise, a scalable business that addresses the poverty and social isolation among seniors in Cape Town’s township neighborhoods. Many older persons live in very poor situations while supporting large families on their pension of just R1,780 per month – the seniors are often the sole breadwinner in the household. An extra income makes a huge difference to the senior while bringing dignity and independence. Basic needs are met, such as the provision of nutritious food and a more stable upbringing for their grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Older people generally have higher medical and care needs relating to chronic illnesses and disability. Due to poverty, crime and migration, the social fabric of the environment is degraded, which leaves older people vulnerable and without social support. In too many cases, they are exposed to financial, emotional and physical abuse by family members and the community at large. The status quo is compounded by the impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis, where grandparents are required to become primary careers to grandchildren and great grandchildren as a result of the death of their own children.
The objective of Ikamva Design is to create job opportunities and an extra income for senior citizens in the township neighborhoods. It is a social enterprise created as a direct response to the need for poverty reduction.
Ikamva Design is working together with 700 women who are members of Ikamva Labantu’s 21 senior clubs (www.ikamva.org.za) to create market desired and innovative craftwork that can be ordered. The beneficiaries are both the individual by receiving payment for the work done within Ikamva Labantu’s senior’s program which will receiving the profit from Ikamva Design.
Ikamva Design social enterprise focus on traditionally beaded table decorations with a modern twist and table linen that is made of the South African fabric Shweshwe. The typical use of the fabric is for traditional ceremonies in the rural areas.
Today, beyond its traditional sphere of usage, Shweshwe has become trendy again beyond the borders of South Africa. The Shweshwe fabric branded Three Cats Original that Ikamva Design uses comes from Da Gama Textiles who is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest vertically integrated textile producers. This fabric is manufactured with an acid discharge and unique printing technique on pure cotton calico.
Today the products are sold in South Africa with plans for an overseas launch via sales platforms like Etsy (an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies).