Ukuva iAfrica was established in March 1996 when the traveller and his companion reached Cape Town.
Ukuva iAfrica, translated from isi-Xhosa means "The sense of Africa": The full spectrum, awareness experience of Africa. It is beyond seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching - it is that part of Africa that resonates with our souls... that eventually becomes part of our DNA - so even when we leave Africa, Africa never leaves us.
Many years ago some tribal women - like the Ndebele - used to wear metal rings or beaded hoops around their necks to symbolise the woman's (and her family's) status in society: the richer the family, the more rings a woman could wear.
It was this image of an African beauty that provided the inspiration for the Ukuva look.
Joe Mufundi - a well known wire-artist - made the wire bottle decorations that became the iconic Ukuva 'look".
These days the wire necks and raffia tassles are hand made by "Cape Mental Health Society" - a work-haven for the mentally handicapped from the townships around Cape Town.
In Jan 2012 Turqle Trading adopted the Ukuva iAfrica brand.
Ukuva-SA and Turqle have had a long association: It started in the early days (1997) when Nigel and Michael cooked up vast pots of Swazi, Zulu, Malawi and Umsobo Iyababa* in the backyard of Nigel's bright pink house on Rose Street in the Bo-Kaap, and Turqle's 'meeting room' was a coffee shop on Greenmarket Square...
Over the years, the collaboration continued - Turqle helped with the development of some of the sauces, contributed some spice blends and added some of the stories - so early in 2012 the Ukuva sauces and spices were adopted into the Turqle Brands stable.
The end of one chapter of the traveller's story is also the beginning of a new story...
The way African stories unfold is often up to the audience: While the story is being told, the story teller directs the story. If her audience is important and interested, the story is rich with detail and she will take great care to tell the story well and include some of the stories of the audience in her tale...
We look forward to adding to the stories of the traveller as the journey continues.
There is a well known saying that Nelson Mandela was very fond of quoting:
"Ubuntu ungamntu ngabanye abantu"
It means: a person becomes a person through other people.
The concept of "Ubuntu" is at once simple and complicated: A literal translation of the word means "humanity" (fellow-feeling/ empathy/ kindness) - but it is also a social, philosophical and spiritual framework of African society - the fundamental connectedness of all people.
Fair Trade: It is impossible to travel through Africa - to live in Africa - and remain untouched by the humanity of Africa.
In the unlikeliest of places - often in circumstances that would seem direly impoverished - are people with very little material wealth, doing what they can - not only for themselves, but for each other.
Turqle Trading is committed to fair trading - that is what it does - exporting fair and ethically traded foods from South Africa.
The story of Ukuva iAfrica is also part of the fair trading story in southern Africa.
On the label of each product, we make the commitment:
"The World Fair Trade Organization (www.wfto.com) guarantees that Turqle Trading is a Fair Trade Organisation. Turqle pays 2.5% of the export price of this product to the Fair Trade Trust for the education of the workers and their families. The wire and beadwork is made by hand at Cape Mental Health Society."
WFTO is a membership driven organisation. Want to know more? www.wfto.com
For more information on the activities of the Fair Trade Trust: