Bicycles and bags changing lives in rural South Africa!

When you have a passion, you always try to do anything out of nothing!


Madikwe, South Africa – Seamstresses in the rural North West province of South Africa are supporting their families by creating beautiful musette bags from bright local shwe-shwe fabric.

At the Madikwe Rural Development Project (MRDP), a long-term Qhubeka Charity partner based in North West province, community members put their skills together to create a living doing everything from building bicycles to making bells, blankets and beaded jewellery. MRDP is home to one of Qhubeka’s two bicycle assembly facilities, as well as a range of Qhubeka work-to-earn programmes, many of which are craft projects. Tiny is one of the women working in the musette bag programme.

“I was born in Koffiekraal, Ga-Mokgathla and I have two kids, a boy and a girl,” she says.

“I grew up hard where there was no food; there was no house. I was living in a shack and a mud-house. I learnt to sew with my own hands. I was doing back-stitch then, trying to sew clothes, because I didn’t have clothes to put on. So, I decided to take up sewing as my career.”

Today, Tiny’s sewing talents are being put to good use creating musette bags, which are finding homes with cyclists around the world thanks to a partnership with ASSOS, a leading cycling apparel brand.

ASSOS has created a “Moving Forward Jersey” to support Qhubeka, which is a global charity based in Africa that helps move people forward with bicycles. With a bicycle, a person can travel faster and further, carry more and access economic opportunities.

When customers buy a Moving Forward Jersey from ASSOS, 10% of the revenue goes towards funding bicycles for Qhubeka’s programmes, and the customer also receives a handmade musette bag, made by Tiny and her peers.

“When you have a passion, you always try do anything out of nothing,” Tiny says, explaining her passion for sewing.

“What I am trying to say now is just, this is in my veins. I always sew every day! Even at night, I just take small rags and make a pattern, and when I sleep, I think of something that I could do tomorrow. And today I am so happy. I thank God; I thank my grandmother; I thank my mother for the support that they gave me. I was able to build this house because of sewing every day. One day, I am praying that there will be a way for me to be able to build a workshop and have all the materials I need; all the equipment that I need. But I know that miracles can happen.”

To find out more about Qhubeka’s programmes or to donate towards changing more lives with bicycles, visit To purchase a Moving Forward Jersey or read about the partnership with Qhubeka, visit the ASSOS Moving Forward webpage.

Sources: Qhubeka Charity 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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