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Bebe Babies

Creative Cape Town

A Brief History of Zuko Dolls

Beth Ahrends brought women together and started the *Masiphatisane sewing group in 1980.¬† The group was often forced to move due to fires, violence and taxi-wars,†but kept on coming back to learn more sewing skills. Some women spent several months learning to sew ¬†and then bought second hand-sewing machines, enabling them to work anywhere.

The Zuko Ladies

Over the years, as their sewing skills improved, goods were sold more frequently. These goods included patchwork, jackets, bags, table mats. At first, the dolls were made as toys for the group’s children but gradually it developed to provide the woman with an extra source of income.

The Zuko Ladies

In 1996 the core members of Masiphatisane, namely Elsie, Ethelina, Jane and Irene, remained, and under the guidance of Linet Hauptleisch and Beth Ahrends started a more refined sewing group called Zuko dolls.

The Zuko Ladies

Linet successfully ran Zuko dolls as a upliftment group for 10 years, working with the ladies very closely to ensure them an income. The dream was that Zuko Dolls would eventually become a dependable business/source of income for the women. Zuko now hopes to fulfil that dream under the present guidance of Mrs. Estelle Woolls-King.

Zuko now hopes to fulfill that dream.†

*Masiphatisane - means "Let us all work together"

The Zuko Ladies

Your purchase of these uniquely handcrafted Xhosa dolls helps uplift disadvantaged children and provides them with an education. Their mothers also receive a great sense of dignity and achievement from their creations! Thank YOU!