The wonderful weavers of Oodi

Tshupo Matontshe
MAKING A LIVING: Business women at work

A group of women in a weaving factory in Oodi village, Oodi Weavers, havereceived a donation fromNando’s Botswana through their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Changing Lives Project’.

Members of the media were taken to Oodi during the pre-opening celebration of Nando’s Acacia Mall Casa.

The unlikely relationship is a love story that started with a transaction when the eatery came to collect the ladies’ order for their international guests.

During the tour,Nando’s General Manager (GM), Challenge Nhamoyebonde told guests, “With the ‘Changing Lives Project’ we are saying whenever we open a Casa, we want to identify an organisation in the same vicinity – it can be an orphanage, it can be an old people’s home – to try and uplift their lives. We went with the Oodi Weavers as our choice because of the relationship we’ve had with them in the past.”

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Nhamoyebonde explained that the factory was initially in ‘an unpleasant state’, prompting Nando’s decision to intervene last month.

“All the contractors who were constructing at Acacia Mall [Casa] have contributed something. We had people who do the extractors who put in the fresh air extractors. As Nando’s, we’ve donated tables and chairs and a lot of furnishings.”

Oodi Weavers was founded in 1973 by Swedish national, Peter Gowenius, who trained the entity’s first workers.

72-year-old KerengMokakawe was amongst the original crop to be trained by Goweius. Sheis now the manager of the business.

However, she shuns the title because she says it is by virtue of her long service and thus simply abstract.

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Asked whether she loves her job, the elder shyly told Voice Entertainment, “I do this job because my hands are already used to it. As you can see all these patterns, I am the one who designs them. My hands are in love with this job. Gakeitse gore a kebopelotshetlhakampokeeng, kentsekebatla go nnaketswelelahela ha maotoaise a pale go tsamaya. (I don’t know if it’s greed or what, but I still want to continue for as long as my legs can sustain me).”

The weavers import unprocessed wool from South Africa and process it themselves, ending up with products such as tapestries, table cloths and cushion covers.

Mokakawe said that they have no fixed clients but rather individual clientele, most of whom are Caucasian.

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