Where to go and what to see when you're in the Cape

Oct 11

When visiting our beautiful valley of Hout Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa, the one thing we know you will want to do while on holiday, is take home something original, beautiful and of excellent quality as a gift for your family and friends back home.

With this in mind, we suggest you find your way to Klein Kronendal, the cottage next door to the Kronendal Manor House where, behind shuttered windows, you will find the most exquisite range of products, hand-crafted by local people.  The most fascinating aspect of these items is that they have been made from dried out and discarded old tea bags! “Tea bags I can hear you asking – how on earth?

The enterprise began some 13 years ago when an English friend of local Hout Bay resident, Jill Heyes, pulled her tea bag out of her mug and said something like this.  “Jill, why not use this humble tea bag as a new way of doing design.

“To be honest I thought the idea was bizarre but my efforts to teach the women of the local informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu some sort of craft work that they could sell was not working and the items we were making were unoriginal and just not moving.  I knew I had to try something else and realized that God had a plan”.

Tea bags by the hundred were collected, dried, split, ironed, painted and then turned into intricate and lovely items.  At first a few women began by creating greeting and birthday cards with a difference.  Their designs were simple and traditionally geometric.  Original T-Bag Designs was born! 

As the women’s confidence grew, the range grew and now handbags, boxes, coasters, table mats, trays, teapot holders and so much more crowd the shelves in the main showroom.  There are now 13 employees and three different design ranges – traditional; nautical and hearts.

But as Jill says,  “It’s not just about the T-bags or the designs, it’s about the men and women who work here and their lives.  They, in a sense, were once discarded just like the tea bags but now they have work, dignity and a future.  They can support their families and put food on their tables.”

One woman was able to buy her own home from her earnings while others have been able to fight the debilitating effects of grinding poverty.

So much of the success of this venture depends on the support of holiday visitors to our valley. We urge you to put Original T-Bag Designs on you itinerary. You will be charmed by the warmth and enthusiasm of the staff; you will be taken on the “royal” tour of Klein Kronendal and shown each stage of turning a humble, discarded tea bag into an original and practical item of delicate beauty.

Make a note of this Hout Bay Holiday attraction!





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