Amid the picturesque mountains of Malkerns, Swaziland, on a dairy farm surrounded by pineapple fields you will find Baobab Batik.
Founded by Els Hooft in 1991, with the aim of sharing her passion for batik, whilst building sustainable economic and social solutions for women in Swaziland.
Els’ fascination of the ancient art of batik arose when she moved from the Netherlands to West Africa in the seventies as a volunteer nutritionist, working in mother and childcare.
In West Africa, she explored bustling local markets, observed the artisans at work and was captivated by the charm of batik. Her interest in batik grew and led her to start experimenting and teaching herself the intricate methods. After moving to East Africa, and finally settling in Swaziland in 1985, Els’ batik work started to gain popularity among the local community. Soon she began training a small group of women in the art of batik. What started, as a hobby is now a thriving small enterprise supporting over 25 women in Swaziland, bringing significant changes to their lives and that of their communities. The growth of Baobab Batik has seen the opening of two retail stores in the Kingdom and also exports to various countries worldwide.
Els’ understands that profit is an important factor to business, but her main motivating factor is her love of design, the women and our planet, which makes Baobab Batik so unique.