Women of Tintsaba: Khetsiwe Vilakati
Tintsaba wouldn’t exist without its workforce of incredible women. In our ‘Women of Tintsaba’ series, we share their stories.
Khetsiwe, our head silver smith, has been creating beautiful silver jewelry at Tintsaba for 10 years – first by helping polish, file and solder, before working her way up to supervising and training the rest of the team. The sole provider for her household of seven, Khetsiwe travels for 1.5 hours each day – on foot and in public transport – to reach Tintsaba’s studio. In their village they have no running water, so they must walk for 3km to collect water in the evening. In rural Swaziland, these daily chores provide opportunity for friends to catch up with each other and chat, though it also means they return home late, and still need to cook dinner for the family! Khetsiwe’s been part of Tintsaba since 1994; clocking up 13 years as a weaver before moving in to the silver workshop. For the last 23 years, her pride in Tintsaba has been constant: “Tintsaba make me proud of myself and proud of my home… because I started working with Tintsaba, my children could start going to school.” We’re incredibly proud of women like Khetsiwe, and so grateful that they are part of Tintsaba’s journey.