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Celebrations at the AGM
Yesterday's Annual General Meeting was in upbeat mood after their recent awards at Rio+20. Board member Dolores Godeffroy baked a cake for members to share in celebration - shown here with the two awards


Swazi women's democracy in action
June 19 saw Swazi women's democracy in action, with a 90% turnout of Member Group representatives at our 4th Annual General Meeting. Here, Make Shongwe from Luhlanyeni makes her point on steps that members are taking to improve the quality of kernels still further.


Swazi women recognised in Rio
It marked the proudest moment of her life when Sindile Mamba went on stage at the Awards Ceremony in Rio de Janeiro last week to receive the Marie Aminata Khan Award, recognising the achievements of Swazi Indigenous Products (SIP) towards Women’s Empowerment. The journey to Rio started when SIP were selected in March as one of 25 winners out of over 800 nominations from 113 countries for the Equator Prize – a UNDP initiative to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. Few people realise that SIP is 100% owned by its rural women suppliers. From the Queen Mother’s initial inspiration, rural Swazi women have truly taken up the challenge of owning and running their own company and producing the Swazi Secrets natural skincare range that sits proudly in quality stores across five continents. They have had much international help along the way to achieving that, most notably from the WK Kellogg Foundation, UNDP Swaziland and Shared Interest in UK. Last Wednesday night in Rio provided the climax. The presentations to the 25 winners were followed by the unveiling of the winners of 10 themed awards, giving further recognition to the best performing organisations on a number of key award criteria. Those winners were selected by a highly distinguished panel of jurors including Sir Richard Branson, Mohammed Yunus, Richard Strange and Gilberto Gil. To heighten the tension further, the very last themed award to be announced was that for Women’s Empowerment. It was a stunned and exhilarated Sindile who mounted the platform for the second time, made all the more special for her by sharing the platform with actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador, Edward Norton. It was fitting too that it was Sindile who was there to receive the award. More than anyone, she knows what this award will mean to the 2,400 rural Swazi women who are the true recipients of the award. She enjoys a great respect and trust from SIP’s members – one of the main reasons that we produce what is widely recognised as the finest quality marula oil in the world is because its members take care to produce the highest quality marula kernels. So how will SIP spend the very welcome prize money - $20,000 doubled up by matched funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation? The answer is that the women who crack the nuts will decide for themselves. Next month’s AGM will make their views known as well as electing the Board of Directors who will take that decision.


Sindile Mamba to represent SIP at Rio+20
As part of SIP winning the 2012 Equator Prize, our Member Services Manager, Sindile Mamba, will be representing us at Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Sindile is looking forward to presenting a very practical angle on Sustainable Development from her 8 years working in the field with rural Swazi women. It will also be the first time she has ever flown anywhere.


2012 Equator Prize winners
Swazi Indigenous Products (SIP) has been awarded the Equator Prize for 2012. We are one of only 25 winners, selected from a total pool of over 800 nominations from 113 countries. The entries were judged against 6 criteria: • Impact • Sustainability • Innovation and Transferability • Leadership and Community Empowerment • Empowerment of Women and Social Inclusion • Resilience, Adaptability and Self Sufficiency The Equator Prize is awarded by the Equator Initiative which brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. There are two elements to the Prize. SIP will receive an award of $5,000 and the opportunity to send a representative to participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will be held in Brazil in June 2012.


A heart warming tale from the Netherlands
A customer in the Netherlands who uses Swazi Secrets marula oil regularly for her own skin has got two dogs. The oldest dog named Browny is 13 years old and has diabetes of the brain, which is very rare. Therefore, its resistance is very low. This illness had taken the fur off his back. Inspired by her own use of marula oil and encouraged by Netherlands distributor Eliza Wolfs who had already used it on her own dog with good results, she began massaging the bare back of the dog with the oil every second day. After just two months, the fur of the dog is almost completely restored and his condition and feeling have improved significantly. The whole family was really happy for the change and sent us these photographs. Here is Browny before and after the marula oil.
Browny before
Browny before


 Browny after
Browny after

Shea Butter Cottage comes to Swazi Secrets
We were delighted to have Akua Wood of Shea Butter Cottage, one of our UK retailers here at Swazi Secrets recently. Akua donates part of her profits from the sale of Swazi Secrets to support the education of Vele Maziya, a young Swazi attending St Joseph's Special School and she was able to meet him for the first time this week. For all you lovers of marula oil who haven't had the chance to see the nuts being cracked or the oil being pressed, here's a link to a great 5 minute video which Akua shot when she was here - http://bit.ly/vhhox1
Akua meets Vele for the first time
Akua meets Vele for the first time

Waschbaer and Vivanda take Swazi Secrets
Swazi Secrets products are to go into the catalogues of Waschbaer and Vivanda, Germany's top natural and ethical mail order companies. This takes us into 700,000 households in Germany and Austria.

Visit Africa The Good News
Visit www.africagoodnews.com and read Swazi Secrets – the type to be shared, written by Tracy Hammond after her recent visit to us. Read on as well – its good to share such positive optimism for Africa.


Our 3rd Annual General Meeting
The 3rd Annual General Meeting of Swazi Indigenous Products on 23rd June was a great success, with about 90 % of Member Groups attending. After hearing both the previous Executive Director, John Pearce, and the current one, Chris Dlamini, presenting the Annual Report, the meeting moved on to elect the Company’s Board of Directors. Khumbuzile Tsabetse of Siphofaneni, Yvonne Patequana from Kalanga and Thulani Dlamini from Mpolonjeni were elected as Community Representatives, while Senator Thuli Dladla and Dolores Godeffroy of eDladleni were elected as Professional Representatives. Chairperson Futhi Mdluli said she was delighted at the turnout and thanked delegates for ‘our best AGM yet’.


Swazi Secrets retailer wins 3 African Women in Europe awards
Our warmest congratulations to Akua Wood of Sheabutter Cottage in UK for a treble triumph at the African Women in Europe (AWE) Awards in Berlin. Akua (on the right of the picture) carried off the innovative person of the year, company of the year and AWE awards. One of the prizes was a flight to Africa and while most thought she would fly to her native Ghana, we are delighted that Akua is taking the opportunity to come to Swaziland and visit Swazi Secrets. Akua will also take the opportunity while here to visit Vele Maziya, a young student that she sponsors at St Joseph's School.


Swazi Secrets Face Cream - do you want sunscreen in it or not?
In response to popular demand, we are embarking on the development of a Swazi Secrets face cream, with a day and a night variant, both to be especially suitable for sensitive skin. We would like your help in making a decision on whether to add a sun protection factor (SPF) or not. Pro SPF: Even without excessive sunlight, UVA and UVB radiation are present in daylight and contribute to skin ageing and skin damage. This is why many day creams contain SPF. Contra SPF: Even the mineral based UV-filters in natural cosmetics are not 100% natural, as the minerals are chemically processed to make them effective. And they give the skin a whitish/greyish cast. Should we compromise and put them in anyway? Do you want to wear sunscreen every day, all year round, or rather have a day cream without it and use a separate sunscreen product as you deem necessary? (Some experts warn about vitamin D deficiency risk from overuse of sunscreen, but others say that risk is outweighed by radiation damage risks.) Please e-mail stef@swazisecrets.com to let us know your preference. Thank you!

Ximenia oil wins Green Parent Award
Having received lots of recognition for our marula oil, we are delighted that Swazi Secrets ximenia oil is now getting in on the act by being Highly Commended in the Best Body Oil section of the Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards 2011. The Green Parent is the UK’s leading green lifestyle and natural parenting magazine. Our thanks in organising the submission once again go to Eileen Murphy at Scotia Fair Trade following her success some months ago in helping Swazi Secrets marula oil’s selection in Elle UK magazine’s Beauty Awards 2010.


Swazi Secrets at Expo West
Swazi Secrets will be on show at Natural Products Expo West 2011 in Anaheim, California, thanks to the efforts of our US distributor, Duerst Lahti Global LLC. Expo West is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products trade show. We were delighted to receive a visit last year from DL Global’s Managing Director, Georgia Duerst Lahti and look forward to real sales growth in the States as a result of our partnership. You can find DL Global at Stand no 5605.


Swazi Secrets in Elle Beauty Awards 2010
The secret is out! Our pure marula oil has been featured in Elle Magazine's December issue as one of the '70 best buys that will change your life.


Swazi Secrets Ximenia oil now available
Ximenia oil stimulates the sebaceous glands and is thus excellent for dry scalp or chapped skin. Swazi Secrets pure ximenia oil, pressed from the seeds of ximenia americana, is now available in a 50ml tube. You’ll find it in the shops very soon.


Production facilities step up with new filler
Last week saw a further development of Swazi Secrets production facilities with the addition of a filling machine, replacing the earlier method of manual filling. It makes our filling operations approximately four times faster and also more precise. We also expect it to improve our lead times on fulfilling customer orders.


New 100ml body lotion now available
Previously available in just the 250ml size, we’re delighted to say that the very popular Swazi Secrets marula and shea butter body lotion now also comes in a handy 100ml tube, ideal for the handbag. Keep watching this space for more new Swazi Secrets products over the coming months.


High turnout for our second AGM
36 of Swazi Indigenous Products’ 44 Member Groups were represented at the Company’s second Annual General Meeting in Mpaka on Thursday. Representatives of the rural women’s Member Groups, which collectively own the Company, heard Chairperson Julie Nixon welcome them with news of 70% sales growth this year for their Swazi Secrets brand, most of it coming from export markets. In presenting the Annual Report and audited financial statement, Executive Director, John Pearce outlined that while 2009 had been a tough year financially due to global recession, it had also been a year of great development for Swazi Secrets. In answer to questions from representatives about the nature of their shareholding, Mr Pearce explained that the 44 groups each held an equal share of the Company and its assets, on which they would receive dividends when SIP became independently profitable. He also highlighted that at E29 per Kg, the rates paid to SIP members for marula kernels are the highest in Africa. Philile Masuku of the new group, Lihlahlandlela in Mpolonjeni was presented with the group’s share certificate by the Chairperson during the meeting. Futhi Mdluli, Solomon Gamedze, Lindiwe Mavuso and Nonhlanhla Dlamini were all re-elected to the Board of Directors, while Khumbuzile Tsabedze was also elected to fill a one year vacancy.


We're now members of the Union of Ethical Biotrade
Swazi Indigenous Products is now a full member of the Union of Ethical Biotrade (UEBT). This follows a very successful audit by Ecocert Afrisco, where SIP scored a highly creditable 78.5%. The Union for Ethical BioTrade is a nonprofit association that promotes the 'Sourcing with Respect' of ingredients that come from native biodiversity. Members commit to gradually ensuring that their sourcing practices promote the conservation of biodiversity, respect traditional knowledge and assure the equitable sharing of benefits all along the supply chain.

Welcome to our new look website
A very warm welcome to the new Swazi Secrets website. It certainly has a New Look, but it is also much more extensive and more ambitious than the previous site, hopefully giving you a far broader insight into what we do and how and why we do it.

Ideally, we’d love everyone to come and visit our factory and to take a tour round to meet some of the 2,600 rural Swazi women who supply us. We know you can’t all do that so we’ve tried to bring much of it to you via the new site.

One major new feature is the virtual tour of the whole production process in the ‘Tree to Bottle’ section. We have also included sections devoted to:

* Our quality standards
* Sustainable wild harvesting
* Information on marula and other natural oils,

We believe in working in partnership – with our suppliers, our distributors, retailers and end users. We hope that the new site, coupled with our blog at www.wordpress.swazisecrets.com and our Facebook page will enable far better direct two way communication to help build those partnerships.

Members test new nut cracker
SIP members in Siphofaneni were the first to try a new marula nut cracker designed to help them crack their nuts faster to stave off the threat of losing this work to factory based machinery. Cracking marula nuts to sell the fresh kernels is a major source of income – R650,000 last year – to rural Swazi women and they are fighting to save it. They will be field testing the new cracker over the next few weeks and feeding back design improvements. SIP hope to then have them available at an affordable price to all members before the 2010 marula season starts.


UNDP help to protect rural Swazi livelihoods
Rural Swazis have been aware that as the popularity of marula oil grows, so too does the threat that somone will master the technology to crack the nuts in a factory, endangering a major source of their rural income. That threat is now reality, with a factory doing so, right on their doorstep. They are fighting back, stepping up efforts to develop a mechanical technology to crack the nuts more quickly, that they can use in their homesteads. And they are getting support from UNDP, who are granting E40,000 to Swazi Indigenous Products for engineering help in developing the rural cracker. SIP is teaming up with women’s groups from Namibia and South Africa with the aim of providing their members with a machine that will triple their productivity and be available by the next marula season at an affordable cost. If there are any engineers out there who know the marula nut and think you have some ideas to contribute, we’d love to hear from you.


Rural suppliers now own the Company
June 11 saw the first AGM of Swazi Indigenous Products and was also the occasion for the handover of 100% of the company’s share certificates to its rural suppliers. 38 of the 43 founder Member Groups attended the event at SIP’s Mpaka factory. After adopting their new constitution, the Member Group representatives received their share certificates from acting Chairperson, Futhi Mdluli. After the ceremony, Executive Director John Pearce explained that the shares could not be bought or sold and if a Member Group ceased to function, its share would revert to the company. As new Member Groups were formed, they would also be receiving shares.

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Links ...

Talk to us and see what other people have to say – on the Swazi Secrets blogsite http://swazisecrets.wordpress.com/ – or if you are a facebook user, look for the Swazi Secrets page on facebook.

Customer Feedback

Here is a selection of feedback from our customers around the world ...

    Just met a lady who just came back from your company and gave me a priceless gift - which was one of your oils.
Olive B de Witt, New York

    I have just been given 3 cakes of Marula soap and I love it. I live in Saudi Arabia and would like to purchase some of your products.
Robbie Barrett, Saudi Arabia

    
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    I blame my friend for giving me an assortment of your lovely products for Christmas. I have since become addicted, especially to the oil, and am becoming worried as I have about 2mm of left in the bottle.
Branka Vudakin, Rome

    I have been using your product for the last 3 months and I have had some amazing results.
Margie Adams, South Africa

    
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    I've had a very special experience with the marula oil lately. I suddenly took a close look at my husband (of almost 40 years) and saw the deep furrows on his forehead and was struck with the thought that I would try what the marula oil could do about that. Both of us have been totally stricken by the immense change in only about a week. He is so changed, just a pity that we didn't take a picture 'before' and 'after'. Mother Nature is really magnificent!
Mary Nordfors, Sweden

    I’ve been trying marula oil on my stretch marks and it has really helped. They have reduced by about 75%.
Lungile Magongo, Swaziland


Swazi Indigenous Products
Box 163, Mpaka, Swaziland
Tel (+268) 2 33 33 281
info@swazisecrets.com