Gone Rural Swaziland – Artistic handcrafts with social impact

Gone Rural is an African handcraft & design brand based in Swaziland with a unique, philanthropic spin. This brand has truly impressed me with their artistic woven designs that pay homage to the past while still being innovative. Founded in the 1970s (officially registered in 1992), Gone Rural was launched by a Swaziland farmer’s wife, Jenny Thorne, who owned a small craft shop in Swaziland selling handmade clothes, accessories, and anti-apartheid literature. This small shop turned into several locations across Swaziland with a social mission behind their stunning handcrafts. 
Gone Rural empowers the women they employ with a voice and with real life resource. Below a Gone Rural weaver shares how this organization has been a benefit to their lives in more ways than expected. 
 Siphiwe Mngometuli – Gone Rural weaver 

Siphiwe is the backbone of her homstead. She left school after falling pregnant and began weaving to support her child. Together, Siphiwe and her husband had six more children, building a life at his homestead. 

Then one day he sold all their cattle and left. He did not return for four years. Siphiwe had to leave her husband’s family homestead. But with her income from Gone Rural, she was able to start her life again; building a new house and buying animals. 


For decades now the Gone Rural mission has been to empower local Swazi women by providing educational, health, and social resources. Gone Rural now assists over 770 women in 13 groups spread across Swaziland creating various woven products. Gone Rural’s organization boMake (meaning ‘mothers in their local language SiSwati) gives back by sponsoring the education tuition for their children, providing access to clean water, and offering free health clinics.   

Rural Evolution collection
Gone Rural also has a fashion branch of their brand. They have collaborated with various global designers to create avant garde fashions utilizing Gone Rural’s artistic baskets and weavings, and the results are fantastic. 
Rural Evolution collection
Doktor and Misses collaboration with Gone Rural – woven screen

Gone Rural’s innovation to preserve local handcraft traditions while creating new and exciting art & designs is already impressive on it’s own, but their commitment to making a social impact in their community makes Gone Rural and boMake truly role models for how businesses can become impactful social enterprises. 

Rural Evolution collection
Learn where you can find Gone Rural woven designs in your own city at GoneRuralSwazi.com (there are boutiques selling their brand across the globe!). Also, visit the boMake organization page to learn more about their social impact efforts. You can give back by simply making a purchase! 

Omorovicza - available at Alyaka.com

Author: InteriorsbyJacquin