Ilala Weavers is a family-owned business situated in the town of Hluhluwe in Northeastern Kwa-Zulu Natal. The business trades a range of African fibre products, beaded products and other locally produced handicrafts. It is best known for trading hand woven Zulu baskets made from Ilala Palm fibres, produced traditionally by women in the Zululand and Maputaland regions of Northern KZN.
Ilala Weavers’ commissions and buys handmade products from a range of communities in the region, and either wholesale these products or retails them through its own shop at the Ilala Weavers “headquarters” in Hluhluwe. Although this “headquarters” started out as a shop, it has been developed into a tourist destination that includes a restaurant, Zulu culture museum and accommodation facility. The offices of Ilala Weavers are also based here.
Ilala Weavers is the largest wholesaler of handwoven crafts in South Africa. It has played an important role in keeping handcraft skills alive in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal through an age where the local market for these products for home use has diminished almost to nothing. It also provides income generation opportunities for more than 2000 people in this predominantly rural region that has very few employment opportunities. Furthermore in supplying traditional Zulu handcrafts to overseas markets, Ilala Weavers has played an important role in profiling South – African products and cultural artefacts.