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The Harmattan: Wind of Change


Harmattan's Founders: Yvette Orieji Hunwick & William Andrei Cunningham

We founded Harmattan Handmade with one goal in mind, to produce exquisite jewellery and artworks; made by the hands of African artisans. We specifically aim to partner with people that live in economic deprivation but who are nevertheless highly talented.
Our name, Harmattan, pays homage to the 'Wind of Change' speech, which denounced South Africa's Apartheid regime and finally accepted the continent-wide desire for independence and nationhood. By adopting the name of Africa's most influential wind we reflect our ambition, to emulate the Harmattan, a wind that sweeps across the Sahara; influencing every facet of life within reach of its dazzling haze.
Just as the Harmattan spreads winds of change across the African landscape, we aim to sow our own seeds of socio-economic change across the continent.

Every piece in our collection of finely-crafted merchandise tells a story. From our Timbuktu inspired ceramics, to crocodile tooth jewellery from the Victoria Falls and the vibrant artworks of our artists; we provide opportunities for African artisans to showcase their unheralded talents to international markets.

In addition to this, we are an ethical trading enterprise firmly committed to sustainability that is compliant with economic development. We aim to ameliorate inequality by becoming direct partners with our artisans instead of meeting the normative standards of ‘fair trade’.

The brand concept of 'fair trade' has empowered countless workers across the world, yet it also tends to portray people in developing countries as agricultural labourers or being dependent on primary stages of production. We are changing this conversation, by emphasising the quality of craft and rarity of product above rudimentary altruism. As despite the economic hardships our African based partners face, they are wholly committed to producing premium products of discernible value.



Zenzo carving a frame to fit one of Brian Kumira's paintings  

Furthermore, our commitment does not end with people but extends to natural resources as well. The timber for our hand-carved picture frames is sourced from sustainably managed forests and we promote crocodile tooth jewellery due to its long-term sustainability and as a viable alternative to big game trophy hunting. An adult crocodile will lose several thousand teeth in it's lifetime and we do not harm crocodiles in order to obtain their teeth.

To acquire a Harmattan piece is to become the custodian of a finely-crafted, authentic African asset; an acquisition which signifies that the winds of change are beckoning.