Tradition, collaboration and opportunity combined to build a world-class business 

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Unemployment in the Limpopo province is as big a problem as it is across the rest of the country and with fewer opportunities than those offered in more urbanised provinces, it takes ingenuity and a little more determination for one to not become part of statistics.

Mama Lillian Malange is a stand-out example of this. Hailing from a rural town where there isn’t any industry activity or much corporate activity, she decided to use a family tradition passed on to her through generations of knowledge to uplift herself and her community around her.

Malange formed the Rainbow Mosaic and Pottery co-operative, which makes beautiful decorative clay pots using an age-old methods combined with modern flair.

Malange works with other ladies in her community to teach them pottery skills and to help in manufacturing the pots through a long and intricate process.

She also hosts classes for children after school and during holidays.

Drawing on a range of natural products which showcase the beauty of Limpopo, Malange’s products incorporate raw materials, mirror’s, mosaic pebbles and glass onto clay pots and beautiful moulds.

“Tourism is growing in Limpopo. South Africans and many others are learning that there is so much more to see and experience across the province and my business offers them something authentic and modern from their time in Limpopo,” Malange says.

Malange is a former Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) entrant and finalist of the manufacturing category, and has toured South Africa, Europe and America to showcase her business.

Rainbow Mosaic and Pottery are one of the BIC’s most successful examples of Eskom’s economic empowerment programmes.

“Small black-owned businesses can make a big difference to our economy. By enabling these businesses to create products and services that will strengthen local economies we can help small businesses unlock economic opportunities and contribute to inclusive growth,” says Acting CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, Cecil Ramonotsi.

The 2017 edition of the Eskom BIC takes place at the end of August in Johannesburg, where businesses from the manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, engineering and construction and trade and services will exhibit and compete for the grand prize.