Cape Town City girl moves to the simple life in Beira,
It has now been 3 years. We moved a month after our
wedding, following my husband’s dream of working beyond the SA border.
We currently live in an old Portuguese styled house,
where I have cultivated a herb garden and adopted a expat lifestyle.
2020 is all about
growing and expanding and seeing where the brand may take us. We would love for
K8Afrika to become a small sustainable business. Every day we try our best to create more work for the sewing women at
Restoring Hope Sewing School (Equip Mozambique).
will soon be availalbe in Cape Town, where we have found someone who is equally
passionate about the KAfrika project, to sell the range. K8Afrika will be
showcasing across the Cape Town market scene. If you love our brand, please
give us a follow on our Instagram and Facebook accounts to see where we are
The range currently
includes; Gorongosa Gowns, Amanhá Kimonos, Palmeria
Totes, Macuti Cosmetic Bags, Sofala Aprons and soon to launch homeware.
Everything is 100% cotton and made in the colourful fabrics of Mozambique. By
selling these products we are further enabling the women at Equip Mozambique
The latest addition
to the K8Afrika collection, is a gorgeous circular wrap skirt. This skirt is a
Restoring Hope Sewing School design which we fell in love with and we have
We are looking to
further expansion and in the near future, the range will include some homeware
and yoga accessories.
We predict 2020 will
be a great year for K8AfriKa Our challenge is to create more work opportunity
for the seamstresses of the Restoring Hope Sewing School, so we welcome new
ideas and adventures. Please contact us,
especially if you are keen to market KAfriKa in Europe.
This kimono jacket is a great addition to your wardrobe. Slip it on
over a simple tee or cami, to add a splash of colour, or to layer up when the
weather changes. It comes in a flattering mid-calf length, with a tie
belt and pockets. Choose from one of the gorgeous colourful options
Style: Kimono Jacket
Handcrafted in Beira, Mozambique. 100% Cotton. Cold Wash. Cool Iron.
Name Origin: Amanhã means tomorrow. The locals here always say amanhã when they are leaving you. Loosely translated to “see you tomorrow”. Works well for the kimono that you can wear today, tomorrow and the next day….
If you are
interested in any of the K8Afrika products or would like to commission us to
make something special for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us on hello@k8Afrika.com or
we are available on Facebook – K8Afrika or number +82 467 2338 or my Moz
no is +84 734 4368. K8Afrika and Equip Moz sewing school look forward to
hearing from you
It’s been eight weeks since Idai the tropical cyclone hit Beira, our home in Mozambique. Cyclone Idai is on record as the largest to hit Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. The highest winds were up to 195 / 200km/h and gusts averaged 280km/h.
I’d like to share our story and experiences with you.
During the week leading up to Idai, there was constant chat amongst the expats about whether you were staying or evacuating! Life was still going on as normal,except those of us who were staying, started to prepare for the aftermath as best we could. None of us had gone through such devastation before so the forward planning included wholesale purchasing of whatever was left on the supermarket shelves. Bear in mind, there is one Shoprite Checkers and one Spar in the city! We all bought bulk groceries (tins mainly) and loads of bottled water.
It was very upsetting to soon learn, that the locals had had no official communication regarding the oncoming cyclone and everything in the city seemed very normal . For instance, if they had known, the Lighthouse Restaurant which is next door to the famous Beira light house, would have pushed the beach sand in front of their buildings to make sand banks to provide protection. The proprietors had done this in the past. Unfortunately, the communication was lacking and restaurants like this one, and the local people were the ones seriously affected by the strong winds and flooding.
I remember during the afternoon of Idai,we did see and hear police with loud speakers driving through the streets, telling people there was a cyclone coming. This obviously gave the locals no time at all to prepare but then again how do you prepare for a cyclone. if you have very little money and very few resources to work with. Mozambique is recognised as one of the ten poorest nations in the world.
Cyclone Idai came with great force at 9h00 pm! But during the afternoon the sky went grey; the wind speeds picked up; and the rain started to fall in a deluge. One very odd observation that afternoon,was that all my plants on the balcony had gone limp, just like ragdolls! I learnt that this was because of the drastic change in air pressure. We were warned that the cyclone would be devastatingly strong from 9 pm until 2 am, but that the wind would change direction when the eye was over the city. We buckled down and we knew we were in for one heck of a night. As predicted at 2 am, everything went quiet, and then we felt something I can only describe as a strong suction and release. This was incredibly eerie.
The aftermath on Friday morning was doom and gloom. I had only watched anything like this on TV, never did we think that we would see such devastation all around us. Friday was a challenging day. After very little sleep, we started to clean up the apartment and tried to come to terms with the night we had just experienced. We had been lucky! Flooding but no structural damage to our apartment.
From another perspective, Annah who runs our home and who lives down the road in a cement house with a corrugated iron roof, spent the night huddled in a corner holding on to her children, with the mattress as protection.This was the best she could do to provide shelter for them, because her roof had flown away!This is when we knew that as expats, we would be okay but the locals would struggle.
However, the Mozambicans seemed to be a lot more robust than many of us expats. Most of them were on the streets selling anything and everything. Communication lines were down for over a week but dozens of aid workers arrived within that time, to mainly help the villagers in the outlying areas whose homes were washed away by the swollen rivers. Each day as we drove out there was always something to give us hope that everything was going to be okay.
Some of the expats who had stayed during the cyclone, decided to leave, but the remainder met regularly and we kept hoping and praying that the sun would come out, just to give the locals some sort of reprieve to rebuild or even just to dry their belongings. As you can imagine everything was soaking as we had rain from Friday until the following Thursday.
Aid workers and NGOs from all over the world started flocking in, but we realised that not all the families in need. were being helped due to government red tape! As a group we decided that we would help the people near to us and hope that they would help others and so on.
I started campaigning on social media, and raising money for the women at Restoring Hope School. (These are the women who do my sewing for K8Afrika.) The women are all widowed and are the bread winners for their families. I had an incredible response from supporters during the week of the campaign. People from all over and even companies who had excess aid, were happy to help.
At the end of the week we were able to hand out 22 packages. 12 of the women work on K8Afrika and the other 10 are busy learning to sew,at the school. Each package contained: Maize, Rice, Salt, Sugar, Oil, Dettol Soap, Sunlight Soap, Purification tablets for water, 3m of plastic to patch up their home, biscuits, Colgate and mosquito coils.
The women were so happy and grateful for their packages. It was a small gesture. A quote very fitting for the exact situation that we encountered: ‘Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.’
Thanks to all of you who contributed towards helping the women of Restoring Hope School. I am truly grateful.
We are now eight weeks post-cyclone and it feels great to be back and doing and what we LOVE.
When driving through the streets of Beira, Mozambique, I couldn’t fail to notice the bold brightly patterned fabrics worn by many of the local women. They are a feast for the eye. And very soon, they became the inspiration for my label, K8Afrika.
The fabric is called Capulana (sometimes spelt with a K… Kapulana), and it is primarily worn as a sarong around the waist. I’ve been used to wearing a sarong as a beach cover-up but here in Mozambique, a Capulana is worn as a skirt and is an important garment in a woman’s wardrobe. The Capulana is worn throughout the day with much pride.
Some of the women have more formal dresses made from Capulana fabric, and I’ve also seen it used as a baby carrier and for wrapping and transporting heavy loads. Local seamstresses, but more often male tailors, create beautiful dresses from this fabric. Capulanas come in 2 metres by 1 metre pieces. The shop keepers in Beira sell it ready cut or sometimes you can buy a 10-meter roll.
Capulanas are often considered as an expensive gift and the women tend to measure their status by the number of Capulanas they own!
There is a public holiday April 07th here in Mozambique. This is ‘Womens Day’ which is intended to honour one of the most important women in Mozambican history, Josina Machel. “Josina Machel was one of the many who played a significant role in Mozambique during the Portuguese regime.” 3 – 4 days before Women’s Day, Beira city becomes a frenzy of woman buying Capulanas. It doesn’t matter how little money she earns; each woman must have a new Capulana for Woman’s Day!
Some historical background
Capulanas have been worn in Mozambique since the establishment of the Arab/Indian trade routes. The fabric was received from Indian traders as a means of barter for other goods. First, they came primarily in three colors: red, white, and black. White represented the protection of the ancestors, black represented evil, and red represented the spirit of war. After this time, Mozambicans preferred using Capulanas to the traditionally-used animal skins. Due to Africa’s wildlife and environment, the most common early designs included suns, leopards, lions, the style “ndjiti” (a white and red geometric design), the style “xithango” (plaid, with the word meaning literally “condom”), and the style “ximangelani” (ducks). These styles were dominant until the advent of the Portuguese Colonial power. Today, these early styles of capulana are used primarily by “tinyanga” (witch doctors, spirit healers, “curandeiros”). “Palu,” a style with very small plaid patterns in blue and white, was also popular in early years of the capulana.
The capulana has survived centuries and today it is a wearable cloth for many woman all over the world.
This was the inspiration for the birth of K8Afrika.
Everyone needs a touch of bold colour in their wardrobe! Happy shopping!
The Macuti Cosmetic Bag is a fabulous essential when travelling. The cosmetic bag is 30cm x 26cm and is so colourful that you won’t miss it amongst your handbag or your suitcase. The cosmetic bag is lined with a contrasting fabric and closes with a zipper.
Handcrafted in Beira, Mozambique. 100% Cotton. Cold Wash.Cold Iron.
Name Origin: Macuti is the suburb where we currently live in Beira.
If you are interested in any of the K8Afrika products or would like to commission us to make something special for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us on hello@k8Afrika.com or we are available on Facebook – K8Afrika or number +82 467 2338 or my Moz no is +84 734 4368. K8Afrika and Equip Moz sewing school look forward to hearing from you.
The background of the school partnered with K8Afrika on the sewing project.
About Equip Mozambique
The mission of Equip Mozambique is to break the cycles of physical poverty and spiritual darkness in Mozambique through educating, equipping, and empowering godly Mozambican leaders.
The women of Beira work magic with capalanas. Take a look at their handiwork! Original, innovative fashion using the vibrant cloth of Mozambique. I love the clash of prints and colours – they are not shy to experiment.