Zim upcycling goes global
Zim upcycling goes global
BY MANA MEADOWS
The Lynde Francis Trust works with women from disadvantaged Harare communities to create high-quality products from recycled materials which are then sold to overseas markets.
The Trust recently held its annual exhibition where its latest collection of fashion accessories and gifts was launched, as well as an array of groovy recycled bins made from everything from Sparletta cans to old LPs. Who knew old cans could be so beautifully useful?
A few weeks later, at a show at HIFA’s Fashion Festival Programme, ‘trash queen’ models walked the ramps in designer outfits crafted from trash – displaying more examples of how beautiful and useful trash can be.
It has taken many years of hard work and networking for the Trust to develop relationships with UK and European companies who are registered Fair Traders and who will buy and promote the products that the Trust produces.
The Trust was formed by Ondine Francis in 2002. Her late mum, Lynde Francis, was an HIV/Aidsactivist who founded ‘The Centre’ which has offered survival skills and counselling in HIV/Aids since 1993. The Lynde Francis Trust was formed after Lynde's death in memory of her legacy, to work in conjunction with The Centre.
Francis confirms that the journey towards getting products sold internationally has been a long one. “It has taken many international trade shows and small markets in Europe to promote Zimbabwean handicrafts. It has evolved to focus on recycling because I am passionate about designing in recycling. <
“Over the last few years the jewellery ranges we have introduced have made a very successful income for two girls from Shingarirai Trust,” she says. “More recently two young boys from HAPPY widows and orphans group are about to become famous with a new range of bins in plastics that we will launch at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show, and the famous Parisian design fair Maison et Objet in September. Local designers like Dusty Africa and Peta at Promise have helped to create new items for us.”
With Africa boasting such a wealth of creative and talented artists across all spectrums, this is a recipe for success one would hope we could repeat more often – especially as the raw materials are free.
Francis advises that small groups need to work with designers to keep their ranges up to date and to help with quality control. Designers who have contacts locally and abroad can help spread the market ability of artists’ products.
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