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Changing lives one stitch at a time

The Artists

Vuyiseka Phanzi

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Her name means “Happiness” in Xhosa and she is indeed an embodiment of happiness. Always keen┬áto help others, with an easy and ready smile, Vuyi joined Taunina as a cleaner, but showed such an interest and eye for the work created in the atelier, that Tracey offered her an opportunity to train in embroidery.

“My life changed when I┬ástarted to make my own bear, my first baby boy called Nicolas. I started learning embroidery from the ladies here. Before that, I didn’t even know how to sew. I love the work I do and am excited by the potential to develop more. Taunina has given me a chance to improve myself. It’s also a place where I feel cared for.”

Born in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, Vuyi grew up with her grandmother, as her mother was working in Cape Town. When she finished school in 2003, she moved to Cape Town to find work. She lives lives with her mother and her son Likhona Themba (“There is Hope” in Xhosa) in Mandela Park, Hout Bay.

Weekends are for spending quality time with her mum and Likhona. He is happiest enjoying the beaches around Cape Town.

In five years time I hope I will be doing this work, because I am in love with this embroidery. I dream of getting better and creating beautiful pieces. It's hard to explain, but I dream of becoming a star at sewing and embroidery. Having a chance to learn and improve myself has made me feel so happy, like I'm new and can do anything I want to do.

Vuyisekas latest creations...