Vusi's Beadwork Project and Scholarship Programme
Team Up to Empower His Local Community

'Tis Beautiful, But Sad

Scenic view of the Valley of 1,000 Hills

The Valley of a Thousand Hills (in South Africa's KwaNyuswa region), with its soothing beauty has wooed artists and crafts people for centuries. It's where rural Africa links arms gently with urban living in Durban.
But the Valley of a Thousand Hills has become "The Valley of a 1000 Tears" because (1) it is plagued by severe unemployment, which is the primary cause of crime in this area and (2) it carries an extremely high level of HIV/AIDS disease infections. Sensing the devastating effect that unemployment and HIV/AIDS are having on his KwaNyuswa community, Vusi Kweyama realized an effective way to combat each, while enabling fellow community members to proudly identify with their heritage.
A variety of beadwork samples for saleWorking with Vuk' Africa Tours and Training (a cultural tourism organisation designed to generate income and create employment opportunities in this community), Vusi conceived of and initiated the "Ubuhle Be' Valley Beadwork Project (see samples of bead bracelets to the left and in images below)," an effective economic empowerment program for community members. His enterprising project is quite popular among locals and tourists alike. Named appropriately to reveal the beauty (or "Ubuhle" in Zulu) of the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Vusi's innovative beadwork project has already made a difference for many local, skilled artists and crafters, enabling them to begin once again earning a living. He intends to broaden his approach in upcoming years by implementing similar programmes in developing countries.

Vusi's Four-Part Approach

To develop a positive economic benefit for the KwaNyuswa community, Vusi (through Vuk' Africa) has begun to create a variety of employment opportunities for local residents.
  • First, he trains people to become tour guides for Vuk' Africa.
  • Second, he coordinates a programme that provides income to families that host visiting travelers from around the world.
  • Third, he facilitates local entertainment groups that perform for visitors, such as gospel choirs, Zulu dancers, and so on.
  • Finally, he and Vuk' Africa offer this new beadwork project, an outlet for locals to sell their handmade arts and crafts (shown in photos below and the current beadwork catalogue).

Vusi's four-part employment programme creates a sustainable income stream that empowers local community members in KwaNyuswa who present their talents and skills to visiting consumers while connecting with hundreds of people outside their immediate community. The bead-making project also plays a fundamental role in facilitating participatory, locally driven, development initiatives that recognize and implement indigenously acquired skills. It helps sustain the KwaNyuswa community that is challenged by recession and high unemployment while alleviating the high poverty level, in accordance with the MDG and major governmental policy initiatives. No matter a community's size, it can benefit from a small project such as this that enables entire families to make an honest living from the sales of their artistic creations.

Teamwork to the Rescue

Vusi supplements his local economic empowerment programme with a very valuable addition, "Beyond Self Scholarship Programme" (BSSP), an endowment fund (a.k.a. a bursary plan in South Africa) designed to help educate local community members by providing them with much-needed scholarships to colleges or universities. Eligibility for his new BSSP will be limited to fellow brothers and sisters in the KwaNyuswa community who are unable to afford higher education costs. These small, basic scholarships will transform lives meaningfully.
Vusi's "Ubuhle Be' Valley Beadwork Project," along with his "Beyond Self Scholarship Programme," is capable of making a big impact on his community's economic empowerment and stability. Thousands of fellow brothers and sisters stand to gain much-needed income, self-respect, and education through these programmes.
The people of Ubuhle Be' Valley hope that Vusi's pair of programmes will not only make a difference locally but will positively impact the wider Durban community and be an impetus for other skilled individuals to contribute to the sustenance of these communities.

A Rewarding Investment Opportunity

As you can well imagine, it takes a lot of energy, creativity, and financial resources to succeed as such far-reaching endeavors. Although Vusi has inspiration, energy, and creativity, he needs financial support to further develop these two life-changing programmes. If you like what Vusi is doing so far with both programmes and want to invest in the financial empowerment of these South African people, please help him financially. You can send a one-time contribution or pledge to donate on a continuing basis. Contact Vusi, personally, on his Contact Vusi page, to get more information and discuss a variety of donation options.

<<<  Click each photo to enlarge it, read its caption, then reduce it.  >>>

Two pair of beaded earrings can be seen
amid a sampling of men's and women's bracelets.
Tourists are delighted to find a collection of stylish
and colourful beadwork crafts and jewellery, priced
reasonably, made by local KwaNyuswa artisans.
Three types of pins can be seen in the second row.
Click the link below to see the current catalogue.

The variety of items for sale is endless: bracelets, necklaces, ankle bands,
pins, bottle snuggies, earrings, beaded ribbons, flags, headbands,
Christmas decorations, pen jackets, key rings, and more.

Click the link below to see the current catalogue.

See the current catalogue. If you like beadwork pieces and want to purchase one or more personalized bracelets, earrings, or pins, whether for yourself or your friends, business, organisation, or church, contact Vusi for details. Craftspeople at Ubuhle Be' Valley Project would be happy to make custom beadwork crafts for you, following your unique design and colours. Plus, your order will help financially empower many local artisans and provide some students with essential scholarships.