The Inner Beauty of Township
Township® was founded in 1997 with a commitment to creating meaningful and sustainable economic opportunities for women in South Africa´s township communities. We focus on designing, marketing and distributing the Township® ranges of bags and accessories – from high-end B2B collections to eco-friendly retail shopping bags and custom branded conference bags. All items are hand made, largely by women-run co-ops, which means that every purchase of a Township® product directly translates into work for township women. Materials are ethically sourced and Township® was the first South African fashion brand to become a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.
Today, Township® has an established reputation as a unique and innovative social enterprise, providing work for an ever-expanding network of independent township-based sewing co-operatives that it helps set up through its not-for-profit organization Afrique du Sud, Bidonvilles (ASB).
ASB provides women with the skills to establish and run independent sewing co-operatives within their communities. Each co-op receives intensive sewing, accounting and business training and, after six months, becomes an autonomous entity registered with the Department of Trade and Industry. There are currently 6 co-ops – in Khayelitsha and Manenberg on the Cape Flats – providing work for around 50 women and positively affecting 6 to 8 people for every job created. Importantly, the women are able to work in a professional and safe environment, close to their families, saving on the time and money they would usually spend commuting.