Amongst the mountains that encircle the tiny African Kingdom of Swaziland is one that resembles a basking crocodile. At its summit is the world's most ancient iron ore mine, dating back 43 000 years and at its foot is the remote village - NGWENYA- (Siswati name for "crocodile"). Here a small group of Swazi craftsmen and women - with age old artistry - breath life into enchanting interpretations of the animals and birds of Africa, imbuing each with its own irresistible personality. Witness first-hand the magical art of glassblowing from an overhead balcony. Each item handmade from 100 % recycled glass ! Browse around the adjoining showroom which is well stocked and purchase your little memento of a truly African visit to our Kingdom. Since its rebirth in 1987, Ngwenya Glass has been more than an inspiring success story. It is an environmentalist's dream. The products, which include a range of tableware, drinking glasses, vases, jugs and ornamental African animals, are all handmade from recycled glass. Most of this is from soft drink bottles, gathered from all over Swaziland . Not only are the people of Swaziland encouraged to collect the bottles, but Ngwenya Glass works with the local schools to instil in the children a sense of environmental awareness. In exchange for building materials and the sponsorship of the soccer team, the students must participate in roadside clean-up campaigns.
Ngwenya Glass products are found in homes worldwide, whilst custom-made light fittings and tableware are commissioned by the most prestigious hotels in Southern Africa . The steady growth of Ngwenya Glass led to its expansion to South Africa where it opened a sister factory, called "Shades of Ngwenya" (situated appropriately near the Crocodile river outside Johannesburg ). This branch has also introduced a line of corporate gifts. In 1996 it opened the first Ngwenya Glass Boutique in the hub of the exclusive "V&A Waterfront" in Cape Town . Both Ngwenya Glass and Shades of Ngwenya has an extensive showroom as well as a charming coffee shop, and is set in indigenous gardens shared with other interesting craftspeople.