About Lumela Afrika
So how did it all begin?
Leanne Dickinson (founder)
I worked in the corporate world for quite some time and on my commute to work each day I saw women, with their children, begging for money at the traffic light corners. This is a common sight in South Africa and it got me thinking of how I could try and help these ladies obtain a sustainable living.
Around this time sanctions were dropped against SA and I had the idea of creating and hand painting naïve art pieces to export abroad. Initially my mother-in-law joined me in the business and together, with 2 ladies, we began painting wooden trinket boxes, pencil cases and some decorative ceramic plates all by hand.
26 years later our range has expanded in leaps and bounds, and is now sold across borders and includes an exclusive range of hand painted enamelware, pure white porcelain enamelware, wooden musical and educational toys as well as a host of other bright fun accessories. With our unique enamel designs and products we have also ventured into fabulous corporate giftware.
Lumela is a job creation project focusing on the employment of single mothers and men from the local townships of Sharpeville, Sebokeng and Orange Farm. None of our hand crafted items are completely identical and all are made with tons of love and attention to detail. Lumela, however, is not just about bright, fun products – it is about empowerment and upliftment.
To positively change the lives of local men, women and children, through sustainable employment.
Our mission is 3-fold:
- Product mission - to create products of the highest standard both aesthetically and functionally.
- Company mission - to provide friendly, reliable and efficient service to our clients.
- Social mission - we strive to actively recognise the pivotal role that business can play in improving the quality of life of local people.
Lumela (pronounced Dumela) means HELLO in the Sotho language. The majority of our staff are Sesotho speaking so with our fabulous hand crafted creations, which we want to showcase to the world, we felt that the name Lumela Afrika - essentially Hello from Africa - was a fitting one!
We are best known, locally and abroad, for our African inspired designs, as well as, our custom made ranges that suit our different markets.
We are proudly South African and export to many countries in Africa, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. Our overseas exports include UK, Holland, Australia, Mauritius, Canada and Finland.
Although Lumela is about fun funkiness and functionality, we do work with our hearts as well and we know that we can make a difference by acting responsibly. At Lumela it is important for us to be socially responsible and have an ethical approach to doing business.
The majority of our products are hand painted or crafted in our factory in Vereeniging Gauteng SA.
Apart from creating employment for people without skills we are also involved with local children’s charities. A special way of giving support - is the LUMELA pay it forward program where we regularly give away our product to children’s charities. We believe every Lumela created product is a Symbol of Hope. We know that we can’t help everybody but everybody including Lumela can help somebody!
I started working at Lumela Afrika in 2005 and before I started at Lumela I was unemployed for 8 years. Lumela was my first job in my whole life and to tell the truth I love working at Lumela Afrika. I always keep praying that God will keep this little company of us running for a long time. Since I've been working at Lumela my life has changed because I can support my family, my mother and my sister's children. I love my job with all my heart. I love the way the manager and the supervisors are doing their jobs. Working at Lumela has taught me so many things. I am fortunate to have been able to learn and work in most of the sections and I relieve the supervisors from time to time. God Bless Lumela Afrika!
My name is Thabo Adolph Mdhluli. I started working at Lumela Afrika September 2013 till date. I am a base sprayer and I really love what I do. The past few years, life was difficult to me and my family. No one had a job. We’ve been struggling a lot in most cases, but things turned smooth when I got myself a job at Lumela Afrika. I can afford food for my family and again I am helping my younger sister to further her studies. Thanks once again for giving me a chance to do the right thing at the right time.
I joined Lumela Afrika on the 2nd September 1997. We where 8 people. I am very thankful for having this job as I am single and I am able to fully provide for myself. Work is difficult to find in South Africa, especially work that you enjoy. I love my job and I try my best.
My name is Daniel Nkomo. I started working at Lumela Afrika in 2013. Since I work at Lumela, my life changed a lot. I learned so many things like wrapping, boxing orders and a lot more. Lumela taught me how to be a responsible person.
I started to work at Lumela Afrika in 10/11/2002.and was at first a painter. After a period of two weeks, I began to do base spraying and was varnishing the products. In between I also built candles and teaspoons.I was then promoted to the manufacturing department where I repaired the stock before it is sent to be sprayed. I also checked all the products which were painted by the ladies before same is sent to be varnished. I also had to check if the workers are completing the weekly schedules.I was again promoted to the orders department as a factory supervisor overseeing orders dispatched as well as all the other areas in production which affect orders going out.As the years at Lumela Afrika passed, I saw that the company is growing and expanding and a lot of new customers since the beginning. The shows are very interesting and you are meeting a wide variety of people. I would recommend working for Lumela Afrika for a lot of people. Lumela Afrika gave me an opportunity to learn and develop and to prove myself.I enjoy working at Lumela Afrika as it feels like a family with all the people together. I am happy in my job and I look forward to staying with Lumela Afrika for still a long period of years.
My name is Jerry Kolane. I started at Lumela Afrika in 2010. My job is manufacturing. For me Lumela has taught me a lot. Now I know about art and craft and it has empowered me. It is nice to see how talented the people are who work at Lumela. They are creative, bright and fun.
My name is Annah Malindi. I started working at Lumela Afrika September 2015. My occupation involves painting and part time drawing. Working here at Lumela has become an inspiration to me. I have learned that my skills has no limits. I can do something as long as I set my mind and time on it. As it is my first job ever, I am highly honored to have met such great people who have made me discover so much about myself.
My name is Suzan Wesele. I started working at Lumela Afrika in September 2012. I am employed as a painter. Since I have worked at Lumela, my life has improved in many ways. I can now afford to buy food for my family as I am the only one with a job. I didn’t know anything about painting or art work when I first started here, but now I am a professional painter. Working here, has been a blessing and I love my job.