Football club plays for hope, dignity

ROOTZ United was formed in 2010 by Brendan Moran and sponsored by Rootz Creationz (local handcraft business) to offer quality football training for young men from the Valley. Moran has been volunteer coaching youngsters in Hillcrest for the past 14 years.

The team consists of players from Embo and KwaNuyswa and train at the Highway United field.

Team captain Themba Ngcobo said he started playing for Rootz in May 2010 and loves playing for Rootz United as soccer is an energetic sport .

“Soccer is amazing to me. It allows us to keep fit and teaches discipline. The skill in soccer takes a long time to master, although I don’t even think you can master soccer. There are so many new things I learn at practice every day. The skill you need to play soccer is over the top. When you first play soccer, you are thinking ‘wow, this is a lot trickier than I thought it would be’. I know that’s what I was thinking when I first played.

“Ever since I started playing the sport I have loved it and when I was little I had no clue what I was doing at the time. Now I have progressed and know what I’m doing.”

He says that another reason why he loves soccer is because it takes team effort.

“If one person doesn’t try on the team or doesn’t give 110% the whole team loses. There is no number one in the team and that was the first thing I learnt in my soccer career. “Team effort is what I love, because you have to work with your team and communicate with everyone to take the ball up the field and score.”

Photo: The team (back, from left) Fana Ndimande, Chief Bongani, Mazwi Ngcobo, Brendan Moran (coach), Themba Ngcobo (captain), Spe Zondi, Stability Sifiso, Hlegi Bengu, Phila Buthelezi, and (front, from left) Ayanda Mthethwa, Qiniso Buthelez

He thanked Rootz Creationz for their financial assistance for kit, equipment and transport and urged others in the community to sponsor his team and take up the sport. He also mentioned a special thanks to Highway United for allowing the team to train on their field.

To find out more or to assist contact

-Kalisha Naicker.

EinH Alumnae Carey Moran and Agnes Mhlongo Partner at 2011 INDABA Trade Show

Agnes Mhlongo (Ghana 2010 Alumna) and Carey Moran (Uganda 2010 Alumna) shared a booth at the Design Indaba Trade Show in Cape Town as part of four business sponsored by Trade and Investment KwaZulu Natal. Both women encouraged and inspired each other before the show and exhibited their own products. The two met in June 2010, after hearing about each other as local businesswomen. Carey had become interested in the idea of mentorship since her attendance at the Uganda 2010 Vital Voices training. Feeling Agnes was hungry to learn about business development, and having the experience to guide her, the two women entered into a mentorship relationship. Carey introduced Agnes to new business contacts and helped her attend the Vital Voices Ghana 2010 training. Carey and Agnes began collaborating on projects toward the end of 2010, completing a very large order for the municipality and submitting a tender bid with the provincial tourism body to operate a curio shop at the Durban travel show for the next five years.

Both women feel blessed to have found such great business partners. They highlight the advantage of combining different skills and talents, emphasizing that working together as two women in the same sector they are each more powerful. Carey and Agnes are working on new strategies and projects for the year ahead. “I think after time the mentor/mentee distinction blurs and what remains is a strong and loyal relationship committed to seeing success and progress in the work we do and making a difference in our community,” says Carey.

The Sunday Tribune covers Rootz Creationz


A craft co-operative in the Valley of 1000 Hills is contributing to a celebrity-backed campaign to save children in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Vivian Attwood reports

After fifteen years spent putting in long hours, and often working to punishing short deadlines to meet orders, the products are available at galleries and stores around the country – and abroad in the USA, the Reunion Islands and Paris.

Their trademark candles in tiny, hand-painted Zulu beer pots remain a signature item and the introduction of a range of puppets in the colours of the participating teams in the 2010 World Cup are still selling like hotcakes.

Now the Rootz team has turned its attention to producing gift cards with beaded detail, in support of the Keep A Child Alive Campaign run by multi-award winning singer Alicia Keys.

Carey Moran, the creator of Rootz, occupies a space a million miles from the corporate environment she initially thought she would inhabit.  Private school-educated, she was a Rotary exchange student and earned a postgraduate degree in economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  She might have opted for a business suit and a whopping salary, but her social conscience dictated otherwise.

“I knew that I had had a privileged upbringing.  Spending a year as an exchange student refined my awareness that it was time to put something back into my community and country” she said at her rustic home in Hillcrest.

“It was 1985 – a year of incredible upheaval back home – and gaining some distance from apartheid allowed me to see the real picture, as depicted in the overseas media.  It influenced my political and social development enormously.”

The result was Rootz, whose mission, said Moran is to “design, produce and sell handcrafted gifts that celebrate the creative spirit of Africa and her people.”

In 1995, she started the co-op without money and one employee, the newly matriculated Thokozani Khumalo.  The first item? The Zulu beer pot which became a bestseller.

“Our mission was to make a difference to the lives of the people of our area – particularly women from impoverished communities and their families, “Moran continued. “I began to draw in other women…. And later men, who had a tremendous amount of creative potential but little formal training.  Today they are able to support their extended families on the proceeds of their work.”

Most of the crafters live in nearby Valley Trust, Embo and Inchanga, but there is also an affiliated group of weavers in the central Drakensberg.  Today there are six permanent staffers and 24 contributors, pulled in when there are large consignments to prepare.

“We grew slowly, but on a very solid foundation,” Moran explained.

“We combine rural work with urban finishes and place a strong emphasis on quality so that we can compete in first world international markets.”

Rootz has strong representation in the USA, where their Christmas stars and other ornaments are selling furiously.  Through her American contacts Moran became aware of the Keep A Child Alive Campaign, and the vital role it was playing in providing nutrition, shelter, support and education to help ensure that children on antiretroviral treatment for HIV/Aids have a good chance of developing into productive adulthood.”

“We put our heads together and came up with the idea of greeting cards with beaded motifs that echo the Africa experience,” she said. “It is so thrilling that celebrities from other countries, like Alicia Keys, are using their positions of privilege to influence developed countries to help us fight the scourge that is decimating our communities.”

“Working on a smaller scale means that we never have lay-offs when business is slow”, she explained.  “We simply keep on producing our ranges for periods of high demand.  This means financial stability for the team, rather than an erratic income”.

“Rootz did exceptionally well during the 2010 World Cup because we were lucky enough to have good access to high tourist footprint places.  Individually, though, the crafters were really disappointed by the dearth of opportunities in KZN to sell their work to visitors.  The Destination Market in Durban was a complete failure from the point of view of promoting local crafters work.  We must all learn from the experience.”

The recipe for the Rootz team’s success?

“We blend indigenous knowledge with comtemporary fun ideas.  The team is highly motivated and works as a single entity towards achieving combined goals.

“In the near future we aim to open a gallery in central Drakensberg and provide more work opportunities for people in that region.” she said.


Fan puppets a hit at World Cup

Our signature item for the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa garnered some media attention!

Puppet masters

With Portugal and Brazil playing in Durban on Friday, these novelty fan figures are big sellers down at the city's trader's market at the beachfront pavillion site, where the 17 most popular World Cup teams are represented at the Rootz Creationz stall. Orders have been flooding in from around the country.