Mambo Jambo
Cape Town, South Africa
Our Mission

My name is Dorotheé Von der Osten, as founder of Mambo Jambo our design work is particularly close to my heart since it supports cultural craft development and uplifts talented women and artists from disadvantaged communities by giving them jobs and opportunities to refine their skills. We upcycle jackets into wearable art pieces, made with love, one-of-a kind, hand embroidered and beaded and made to last. The women live from this work, mothers can feed their families and work from home and unknown artists can freely express their creativity and have exposure to retail markets. Since South Africa has also been severely affected by lack of tourism in this time of the pandemic, we hope to generate global awareness on our work so we can generate more orders to empower women and feed more families in need.

Our Story

I was based in Cape Town as an artist, illustrator and photographer and then designer of Mambo Jambo. Seeing the contrast of living conditions daily in Cape Town, I wanted to get more involved with the local people and thus started up a project with women from the township that I selected and trained to do hand embroidery.  Through this many jackets made their way to people, mainly tourists who wished to buy them, so I eventually I created the label Mambo Jambo ( the name comes from a visit to Zanzibar…another magical place! )

We began with used upcycled military jackets then later a small range of handmade classical safari jackets and blazers that we did up in crazy ways. These rose in popularity and I was recognised as Women of The Year Award for the work we did. In addition, celebrities such as Annie Lennox have come to sport them, further raising recognition for our cause.

Now back home in Munich, I wished to continue the work and carry on supporting these women, so we continued making up jackets and mostly now send them to 5- star Safari Lodges on consignment and take personal orders for parkas in Europe with women I meet. Our jackets are not a normal fashion item, they are unique, a statement and wearable piece of artwork or poetry to wear as each tell a different story.

Our Future

For the main embroidery girl I collaborate with and other talented girls, I would love to extend the opportunity to live and work in safer spaces with their families so they can even further refine their craft and talent, free from harm. I would also like to expand our economic empowerment program with further skills training from initial embroidery design to teaching them how to market our products to hotel boutiques and retail stores to passion on training to others.

Contact details for interested individuals and parties: