The SA-ZIM Trade Fair that officially kicked off in Musina Friday has been applauded as a groundbreaking event that has provided hundreds of women in small businesses with real economic empowerment opportunities.
Over 600 women from South Africa and Zimbabwe are exhibiting a variety of hand-made products.
Zimbabweans brought a variety of woodcarvings, traditional foodstuffs, ladies’ bags, bedding, clothing and many other handcrafts.
Lucia Matiki, from Beitbridge, is one of the close to 300 Zimbabwean women exhibiting at the trade fair.
The 56 year-old, says her bowls, curios, sugar basins and other crafts she makes from the mahogany tree, are selling like hot cakes.
“I want to get money to feed my family, even my husband and to send my children at school. I thank government very much, for bringing us Zimbabweans here! (President) Robert Mugabe and (President Jacob) Zuma are doing good things for us,” says Matiki.
Traditional attire, beadwork, farm produce, foodstuffs, house furniture and many related items dominated the exhibition stalls of the South African women.
Lona Rapoo, who came all the way from Rustenburg, says the journey was worth every cent she spent.
“We are melting bottles with the gas and oxygen, and then we make it soft and create the beads, and from there we thought of doing jewelry with those beads. I am very excited to be part of this exhibition. I never thought I will come to Musina to see all the officials who are here, government officials and everything.”
Five women ministers were also in attendance on the first day of the trade fair. Small Business and Cooperatives Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni could not hide her excitement.