Tell us about you
“Ten years ago (how time flies!) I came to The Netherlands on a scholarship and love has kept me here. I am still very attached to my homeland, and I go back often. At first that was simply to visit friends and family, and I always brought back presents to The Netherlands. After years of enthusiastic responses I decided to start importing on a small scale, and that’s how The South is Blooming was born. I used to work as a philosopher at the University of Amsterdam – Something very different from what I do now! But it did prepare me very well for working on my own. I combine my web shop with being a mum to Nikolas, our two year-old.”
How did you get into South African design?
“South Africa is going through a beautiful chapter in her history. After the end of Apartheid in 1994 there was this explosion of positive energy, and you can see the effects it has had on South African design. It’s been at the root of a very creative period, lots of designers, projects, and workshops, all started experimenting with traditional handicrafts, which get a modern twist and are turned into designs filled with contradictions: modern, but warm, sincere yet playful, craft for cosmopolites.”
Everything you sell has been made according to responsible and fair principles. Is that hard to check?
“I know each manufacturer personally, and I’ve visited each and every one of them at least once, from Soweto to Cape Town, from remote villages to anything in between. It’s very important to me that a product has a good ‘lineage’. These are not anonymous products from some factory; these items are made by people. And as of this week I am involved in the ‘ ‘eco popup store’ in Groningen! A joint effort by a bunch of female web shop owners who all focus on durability. I would love it if people were more aware of where their stuff comes from – who made it, and how?”