Zawadi is a family run business in South Africa and has been supporting wildlife conservation for several years. Having been born and raised in Kenya, wildlife is close to our hearts.
In 2014, due to our love of wildlife, we purchased a holiday home in the Gondwana Game Reserve in the Garden Route outside the town of Mossel Bay. The GCF, Gondwana Conservation Foundation, is based there, and we have got to know the directors well and the work they do.
At the first homeowners’ AGM that we attended in Gondwana in 2015, we proposed a fundraising auction and donated one of our bronze sculptures, a small rhino, to raise funds for the Gondwana Conservation Foundation. This was the start of fun-filled and successful auction evenings which are now held annually. Our contributions have steadily become more meaningful over the years and other donors have now also come forward adding even more to these fundraising events.
In 2019, we were asked if we could donate one of our pieces for an auction to be held at the premises of the Royal Geographical Society in London. The beneficiaries were the Tikki Hywood Foundation and the GCF.
We decided to donate our large life-size silvered bronze cheetah, which was then personally taken to London as ‘luggage’ by a fellow Gondwana homeowner, who was also instrumental in organising the auction. This auction was held simultaneously online as well and together with various other donations, raised much needed funds.
Zawadi continues to donate accent pieces of their collection on a regular basis to help raise funds for various conservation groups at auctions or other functions.
We have a long track record of supporting charities going back to 2004 when we started supporting CHOC in Johannesburg. This was tied up with an international organisation named Cowparade, for which we were appointed the South African agents.
We offered to donate a further percentage of the sales of the collectable ceramic cows to CHOC, who Cowparade had chosen as the beneficiary charity in South Africa. We were told by Cowparade that none of their agents had ever done this before – Zawadi was the first agent to offer this additional funding.
In 2008 we decided to allocate a percentage of sales of another range of ours to the charity OPERATION HUNGER. We are still supporting both CHOC and OPERATION HUNGER, unfortunately at a much-reduced level now due to the pandemic. We hope to soon go back to pre-lockdown amounts.
Zawadi prides itself in paying our staff salaries that are well above the average remuneration levels in the industry we operate in. We also operate 40 working hours per week, as opposed to the 45 hours per week that our industry applies. This does not affect in any way their annual leave. Yearly increases have always been above the official inflation rate.
In addition to salaries and wages, incentive bonuses are paid on a regular basis.
All staff members are registered with the UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) and contributions are duly paid by Zawadi.
Zawadi believes in upskilling its staff and sends them on training courses. We have also arranged to have experts in banking and related matters come and give advice to our staff on how to manage their finances and plan for their future.
All refreshments for coffee and tea breaks are supplied free of charge to our staff.
Many of our staff members have been with Zawadi for well over 10 years.
In 2013 we realised the importance of LED lighting in achieving energy efficiency. South Africa was at the initial stages of manufacturing this technology locally but was not able to meet demand. The initial lack of quality was also causing a deterrent.
We decided to import LED globes and started raising awareness of the benefits of this technology. We offered our customers free LED globes when placing orders which also helped our sales, a typical case of a win-win. After a slow start, this offer became popular, but we had to end it after a few years as high import duties were applied to protect the local manufacturers. Thankfully, quality has now improved.
Our factory and office lighting is fully fitted with LED, including the fluorescent tubes. The cost of replacing the old globes was recovered in a relatively short time due to the savings we achieved. We are constantly advising people to do the same as this not only reduces the carbon footprint in generating electricity, but makes economic sense as well.
Zawadi has never stocked any items made of plastic. This decision was initially made in 1996 because we wanted to offer our customers a range of higher-quality products. Having now seen the damage that plastic is causing, we are actively trying to eliminate it or minimising the use everywhere possible, including our packaging.
In 2018 we managed to convince one of our main suppliers that eliminating plastic in their packaging would make good business sense. After a couple of years, we were pleased to see that they now package all our items plastic-free. Even the Styrofoam has been replaced by EPE – expanded polyethylene foam which is recyclable.
It will take some time before all our stock is packed with eco friendly materials, but we are at an advanced stage and Zawadi recycles most of the eco-friendly packaging materials we receive.
The range of items we manufacture are all packed in recycled card boxes which are made in South Africa.
We recently introduced a new range of framed canvas prints and a deciding factor in choosing which framing company to work with, once quality was assured, was based on their method of using recycled material in making the frames. Another factor was that this factory supports a wildlife conservation group – The Stop Rhino Poaching Fund.
Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.