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What is the Phakamisa iSpirit initiative? Watch the Video

What is the Phakamisa iSpirit initiative?

In 2021, Pernod Ricard embarked on a mission to uplift some of South Africa’s most seen, yet unnoticed craftspeople – the roadside makers of furniture, artwork and other fine goods.

Many of these makers have incredible skills but haven’t had the education nor access to funds to take that know-how and develop it into a business to provide a sustainable future for themselves.

And that’s where the Phakamisa iSpirit initiative comes in. Pernod Ricard made a pledge to uplift South Africa’s local makers through education that provides them with the necessary skills and business acumen to take these makers to the next level. To achieve this goal, Pernod Ricard is investing R5 from proceeds on every participating product sold into the education of the makers.

Through a partnership between Pernod Ricard South Africa, Furntech and the Gauteng Department of Economic Development , Phakamisa iSpirit is making it possible for these makers to upskill themselves and ultimately build a better future. They’re learning, growing and elevating not just themselves but their families and communities every day. Because our makers know that ‘making’ doesn’t stop when a project ends, it’s just the beginning of the next one.

Watch the Video
R5 of every Phakamisa iSpirit Pernod Ricard product sold goes to elevating the makers.
This is our second year of the initiative, going from having just two makers as students, to eight.
Our aim is to have 32 makers enrolled in the Phakamisa iSpirit initiative by 2023.
This year, Pernod Ricard is committing a R29.7m invest to the campaign to uplift more makers and improve skills within the furniture industry
Over the next few years Pernod Ricard, in partnership with GDED, will create sustainable environments for artisans by giving them access to facilities, training, technology and markets.

Meet the makers


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Hosea Matlou

Maker, Hosea Matlou is the first Phakamisa iSpirit initiative to graduate from Furntech and now plays mentor to the Makers who are still on their Phakamisa iSpirit journey.

Hosea began as an accountant, switched to become a contemporary artist and finally fell in love with carpentry furniture creation. He was plying his craft in a 9 square metre workshop and had the rudimentary carpentry skills needed to get jobs done, but his artistry and creativity outshone the skills he had.

He is now a master carpenter but still finds the time to keep honing his skill.

Contact Hosea

Sandile Tsulo

Maker, Sandile Tsulo is the core of what the Phakamisa iSpirit initiative is all about. As the breadwinner for his family, his mother and 5 orphans, Sandile is a person who never gives up and never stops giving back.

Sandile is in the second module of his Furntech study journey and will be graduating soon. Sandile had a good understanding of woodworking, but his eye for creativity made him stand out. He has progressed leaps and bounds in his journey and is creating bespoke pieces with greater frequency, elevating his craft day after day.

Contact Sandile

Petunia Motsa

Maker, Petunia Motsa, is one of our standout craftspeople. In a male-dominated industry, she is carving her path to greatness.

Petunia began her employment journey as an Admin Officer in the Department of Social Development, but her creativity soon led her on a new path. She found a love for flipping old furniture into bold, bespoke new forms.

Petunia hopes to see her work go global and sold everywhere from art galleries to Amazon.

Contact Petunia

John Matebula & Manyane Rantai

Makers, John Matebula & Manyane Rantai are creative forces with unstoppable energy. Both craftspeople began their journey with little more than a great eye for beautiful goods and a big dream.

Together, John and Manyane are surging forward at Furntech, using their creativity to create incredible imaginative pieces with unique upholstery designs and exciting takes on furniture.

They hope to one day be recognised for this incredible creativity at award shows and have their own store filled with bespoke goods.

Contact John & Manyane


See how to achieve a smooth finish in upholstery.

Mthuthuzeli Khanyile

Maker, Mthuthuzeli Khanyile started his journey firstly at a large food company and internet café worker before finding his true passion, upholstery.

He believes, having little to no experience in the furniture design sector has been an asset to him as his designs and ideas are never restricted to what can or can’t be done.

He aims to buy his own large machinery and go on to produce furniture on a scale that matches his big ambition, taking his bold creations to the world.

Contact Mthuthuzeli

Nonhlanhala Nyelele

Maker, Nonhlanhala Nyelele has always had an affinity for wood and has worked in the woodworking industry for a number of years. Her aim is to create top quality products that she can be proud of and her customers can fall in love with.

She believes there’s a unique quality lying in every piece of wood she uses and challenges her mind to express that quality in every bespoke couch, chair or other piece she creates.

She aims to expand her business as she grows along her Furntech journey, learning more and more every day.

Contact Nonhlanhla

Sibongile Ncumalo

Maker, Sibongile Ncumalo puts one thing into her craft, and that’s love.

Her love for creating bespoke furniture pieces is evident as she carefully considers the wood she uses so its beauty is on display. She understands what her clientele wants and can build to those needs without sacrificing creativity.

Sibongile aims to use her artistry and innovation to create her own brand in the future and hopes to see her creations bringing joy to all who use them.

Contact Sibongile