Project teaches creative ways to earn a living

Dolls made by learners at the Iziko Lo Lwazi centre for learning.

At first glance the old bowling club near the Hout Bay common just off Baviaanskloof Road looks deserted.

But tucked away behind the fence, is a group of young men and women hard at work at the Iziko Lo Lwazi centre for learning.

Project manager Joslyn Isaacs says the centre trains local men and women to become financially independent, building their confidence to start their own businesses or land a job.

The project started about 13 years ago when the non-profit organisation’s founder, Jean Fairhead, realised the need for literacy training in Hout Bay.

Ms Fairhead, a Hout Bay resident, walked from door to door in Imizamo Yethu in-
viting residents to literacy classes. They
were a success, but she soon realised that literacy on its own wasn’t always enough to help someone find work – skills training would help people earn a living for themselves.

After meeting with other NPOs at a conference a few years later, she introduced paper making as it was inexpensive and easy to make.

At first, the pupils used an old bathtub to make the paper pulp. Later, a paper making machine was donated by the American Embassy.

Today, the centre boasts a wide range of naturally textured paper which incorporates seaweed, reeds, maize, rooibos tea and even horse dung.

The centre’s reception area doubles as a shop with a variety of handmade items, such as cards, lanyards, bookmarks, jewellery, gift bags, picture frames, key rings and handmade recycled paper on display.

Ms Isaacs says the centre’s skilled crafters earn from each item they make and
they supply many items to the hospitality industry and curio shops around Cape

Lanyards with company logos beaded on them are particularly popular at the moment.

“Our skillful beaders can match your branding requirements and produce unique promotional items for clients,” Ms Issacs

The centre is also a member of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI), established in 2001 to support the needs
of creative businesses in the Western Cape and grow the region’s craft and design sector.

“Many of our learners go there to acquire new skills like drawing and to develop their creativity,” Ms Isaacs said.

During the Sentinel’s visit to the centre on Friday October 14, paper maker, Chris Zita explained how the paper is made.

Shredded paper supplied by FNB is placed in the paper-making machine and water is added to form a pulp. It takes about 30 minutes.

The pulp is mixed with clean water in a separate container then scooped up with a rectangular mesh, drained and placed face down on a piece of felt big enough to take two A4 sheets.

The felt pieces are placed in a presser to remove excess water and the paper is hung out to dry for about two days.

Mr Zita makes A2, A3 and A4 sheets of paper. Fabric dye can be added to colour it and various natural materials, including horse manure (which is boiled with soda ash to sterilise it and remove the smell), give it texture.

Iziko Lo Lwazi is looking for a trea-

The ideal candidate should be retired, have a knowledge of Quik Books and be able to prepare financial statements and sign off end-year finals.

Call Ms Isaacs at 021 790 2273 or email for details, or visit for more information about the centre.