ESTABLISHED IN 1982, SWAZI CANDLES A MANUFACTURING COMPANY BASED IN THE BEAUTIFUL KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. THEIR CORE BUSINESS IS CANDLE MAKING BOTH TRADITIONAL PARAFIN WAX AS WELL AS 100% ORGANIC SOYA CANDLE TEA LIGHTS. THE COLOURFUL, HANDMADE PRODUCT RANGE ALSO FEATURES WAX ENCASED LED LIGHTS, PURE VEGETABLE GLYCERINE SOAPS AND MARULA OIL BODYBALM.
Swazi Candles has a vibrant, music filled workshop in the Malkerns Valley where they invite guests to come and interact with the artisans as they work their magic as well as a manufacturing workshop in the Matsapha industrial area where they produce the veneers for the candles and generate bulk order products. Swazi Candles permanently employs 45 people. As a founding member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade Association) they are passionate about providing quality of life in the workplace for their employees. The workers are part of the decision making process in the company and the board is committed to sharing profits and paying a living wage to our people. The employee benefit structures include Health Care, Pension Funds, Clothing Allowance, Food Allowance, Transport Allowance, Educational Loans, Funeral Insurance and access to the SWIFT Training Programmes.
THE ART OF MILLIFIORE
The beautifully intricate designs of Swazi Candles use the ancient technique known as “millefiore” or “thousand flowers” that first surfaced in Alexandria, but was perfected in the great glass making cities of Murano and Venice. Glass beads and other objects created there were of such beauty and finesse that they became much sought-after, valuable artefacts.
On the Africa coast, these Venetian trade beads were used as a form of currency to barter for gold and ivory. So popular did they prove that the North and West Africans came to make their own variation. Thus was born the African trade bead, rare and sought after by collectors to this day.
The wax is first dyed in large trays and then cooled into sheets. The sheets are then cut into strips and layered to form the desired pattern. The layered strips are then extruded to provide the patterns with their intricate detail and then sliced into usable veneer. The artisans then warm the veneers and skilfully hand sculpt them into beautiful animals or geometric shapes.
Swazi Candles was started in an old cowshed of a former dairy in 1982 by 2 South African art graduates. In those days The Kingdom of Swaziland was a haven of peace amidst troubled countries and proved to be an excellent place for setting up a Cottage Craft industry. The mountainous countryside was beautiful, the Swazi people were warm and friendly and proved to be ideal partners for our industry.
The little workshop soon gained a reputation for producing unique candles and started attracting visitors. The vibrancy of the workshop, uniqueness of the product and the skill of the artisans resulted in Swazi Candles becoming one of Swaziland’s premier tourist attractions. By the mid nineties the humble cowshed workshop had burgeoned into an industry that employed over 200 local people and exported candles all over the world. The past few years Swazi Candles has developed some new product ranges including 100% organic soya candles, wax glow lamps and handmade balms and soaps. Their range of products have grown into an astonishing array of patterns, shapes and designs.
Swazi Candles have an organic vegetable garden to help supply their workers with fresh, wholesome food. They believe that what you put in, is ultimately what you get out. By investing in the health and well being of their staff, they, in turn, get the best from them, thus enabling a win-win situation. Their beautifully prolific garden also provides chillies for another local Fair Trade producer.