Rendani Choice Matcheke was born in 1986 in the small rural village Mambvuka sitting between Baobabs and stones in one of the many ancient folds of the Soutpansberg mountains, called the Nzhelele valley.
Orphaned at 10, raised in loving family-community
Her mother died when she was 6 years old and her father when she was 10. Since then she and her 3 siblings stayed with their grandmother. Her grandmother did not have much of an income so Rendani had to leave school mid-grade 10, when she was 16 years old, to work and help her grandmother. In those days grade 8 and 9 girls were taught some sewing and knitting at school, but the rest Rendani learnt all by herself.
Natural talents and enthusiasm
In 2015 when Elthea employed Rendani as part-time carer for her elderly mother in Makhado-Louis Trichardt, she spotted this talented young woman’s handwork-skills and paid her to knit and crochet beanies and scarves for her children. Soon nephews and nieces in Bloemfontein, Cape town, Scotland and Australia ordered scarves via the family whats-app group.
Starting her own business and teaching her kids
With that money Rendani bought her own sewing machine and started to make dresses and church-uniforms in her home-village. This way she earned extra income to help her 2 daughters Khuliso (12) and Ondwi (7) to get better education and opportunities than she had herself. Both kids can knit up a storm, are eager to learn, is good at maths and are beautiful, just like their mother.
Crocheting for Madi a Thavha shop
In 2016 Marcelle asked her to do some crocheting and knitting for the Madi a Thavha shop and then she really started to bloom under Marcelle’s professional instruction. She made scarves, children’s toys like fruit and vegetables, Easter bunnies and chickens, pot-holders, earrings baskets and even crocheted wire-earrings and rope-protectors for chair’s legs.
Since 2019 Rendani is full-time employed at Madi a Thavha as a member of the Sewing and Design team.
Going international Rhino protection
Last year Marcelle got her an order for 30 cute little crocheted toy Rhino’s for Africa Genius, a Belgium tour-operator’s ‘save-the Rhino’s’ campaign, so now this young woman from the small village of Mambvuka is going international!
Entering National Craft Awards two years in a row
With assistance from Madi a Thavha, Rendani became one of 32 Limpopo artisans to enter the Innibos National Craft Award in 2017. She entered with a range of crocheted and beaded jewelry in trendy colours inspired by traditional Venda necklaces and beaded decorations. In 2018 she and Elthea joined forces and entered Wall panels for the Innibos Craft Award 2018; beaded photographs on canvas of traditional Tsonga wall-art.
Her late parents have known well to give her names like Praise (Rendani in Venda) and Choice to empower her to make the best choices possible for herself and her daughters.
Yarn Rendani used, empowers women elsewhere in South Africa
In addition, the Vinnis colours Serina – crochet yarn used for certain jewellery and potholders is hand dyed and balled by women from an economically depressed rural area of South Africa. The sale of this product has empowered them in turn and brought economic benefits to their community. Hand dyed yarn gives your garment a unique marbled effect, is colourfast and made in South Africa. Email: [email protected] Tel: +27 (0)21 979.co.za,100% bamboo or 100% Cotton and eco- friendly.