Limpopo’s Finest Embroidery at Kaross Studio and Café | iinfo TZANEEN

Kaross, derived from the Khoisan word for blanket or rug, is the name of an embroidery studio in Letsitele, Limpopo. But Kaross is so much more than that. For the past 30 years Kaross has not only produced some of the finest embroidery in South Africa, but has also provided a livelihood and source of cultural pride for hundreds, even thousands, of rural Tsonga women and their families. 
In 1984, Irma Van Rooyen and her husband Burgert moved from Johannesburg to Letsitele to start a citrus farm. Irma, a trained artist, was inspired by the colourful embroidery in traditional Tsonga textiles and in 1989 conceived an idea for a project in which local women could use their embroidery skills to earn a living while still performing other essential life tasks. 
Irma, eventually with help from a team of artists, create patterns for pillowcases, placemats, tapestries, tablecloths, bags and other items, which they distribute along with embroidery thread to women in the area. The women can embroider at any time — at night after work, while waiting for the bus, or while children are sleeping. Farm workers and other workers who want to make extra income can embroider during breaks. Women work at their own pace, take their creations back to Kaross when they’re finished, and the completed products are then sold locally and in shops and galleries across the country and the world. 
Two mornings a week the Kaross studio overflows with women from villages all over the area, who come to turn in the works they’ve finished. Irma’s eyes shine as she shows me the log sheet of a woman named Joyce, who has been working with Kaross since 2013. Each of Joyce’s submissions is carefully recorded, with notes about the quality and quantity of materials used. There are hundreds more sheets just like this one. 
The project started in the Van Rooyen’s farmhouse; 14 years later a much larger studio was built nearby to accommodate Kaross’ ever-expanding size. Today, Kaross works with about 1400 people from the surrounding villages. Kaross’ artworks — acclaimed for their colour, style, and impeccable craftsmanship — have been shown in many high-profile art and craft exhibitions. Customers can order Kaross products online for delivery worldwide. 
Kaross’ larger fine art pieces are spectacular, and one must visit the Kaross studio in person to properly appreciate them. Visitors can book tours of the Kaross studio to watch the artists in action and learn about the craft of embroidery. There is also an onsite shop with beautiful works for sale. 
In addition to the studio Kaross also has a café, open for breakfast and lunch, serving delicious coffee and light meals under the shade of massive trees. Both studio tours (especially group tours) and meals at the cafe should be booked in advance. 
The Kaross Studio and Café is on Giyani Road (the R529) in Letsitele, about 35 minutes’ drive east from Tzaneen. GPS Coordinates: -23.789307, 30.436531. The studio and café are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 076-499-6778 or 015-065-0218, or email Visit for more information.

Add new review

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.