Nobunto in Sotho means, “for the people.” This fair trade company located in Napier, South Africa, 180 kms east of Cape Town, is just that.
Nobunto candles, cards, and recycled jewelry are crafted from environmentally sound materials and practices. The company makes use of traditional artisan skills and employs women from disadvantaged communities in an area with a 50 percent unemployment rate.
Under the Conditions of Employment Act, Nobunto provides their artisans with permanent contracts, fair salaries, paid holiday and sick leave, regular work hours with three breaks a day and weekends off. They also contribute to an Unemployment Fund and Skills Development Fund. They also have an assistance fund in case an employee has an emergency situation, help pay for doctor visits, and provide free transportation to and from work.
An example of their dedication to a safe work environment and safe product is the Bekro Colours used on the hand-painted candles. The colors are tested under strict European laws to be free of carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic substances.
Helen Vale, a local professional artist living in Napier, where Nobunto candles are crafted, explains that painting candles is a difficult task, because painting with hot wax is an “extremely difficult skill to master.”
Nobunto recommend that pillar and cube candles be left burning for no more than 2-3 hours for the first and second use. A period of 1 hour is recommended between usages. After that, candles should not be burned for more than 2 hours and wicks should be trimmed to 1 cm. This prolongs the enjoyment of your candle and allows the candle to create a lantern effect, by which the hand-painted design can be enjoyed. Be careful, as the lantern effect can cause the outer walls to be extremely hot and melt, which can cause wax to run out. To be safe, place on a heat resistant saucer or candle holder.
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Post by Barbara Lee.
Barbara is a world traveler who is passionate about sustainable food systems, responsible consumerism, and holistic living. Her professional background and interests include writing, cooking, non-profit work, and eco-conservation.