We have done a lot of thinking lately about the vision and mission for Tanaka Africa. It is a social business, that is, it’s a for-profit business with a social mission. We looked up the term “social enterprise”: “a cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good. A social enterprise exists to achieve a social mission—such as providing healthcare or safe drinking water for the poor, creating jobs for the unemployed or advancing education initiatives”. This definition resonates for us.
The Good Trade's What is a Social Enterprise? explains that “although profits are not the primary motivation behind a social enterprise, sustainable revenue still plays an essential role in the sustainability of the venture. This does not mean that social enterprises cannot be highly profitable, it simply means that when they are, their priority is the reinvestment of profits into their social mission rather than payouts to shareholders”. The Good Trade points out that there is a significant difference between a “social enterprise” and an “ethical business”. A social enterprise centers itself around a social mission and uses commerce as a tool to maximize sustainability and impact while an ethical business centers itself around creating profit for its shareholders but takes an ethics-based approach to issues like the environment, trade practices, and community development.
In Mandela: The Struggle is My Life Nelson Mandela shares his story of struggle as a social rights activist and politician. He fought his whole life for justice for his beloved homeland of South Africa and for the idea that all men and women are born equal, regardless of the colour of their skin. Mandela changed the course of history, ended the racist apartheid policy in his own country and made racism unacceptable worldwide. Although Mandela was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years for fighting for freedom, Mandela refused to give up the struggle or give in to hate. Mandela was fighting against apartheid, but he was also fighting for something: a better world, in which the freedom, justice and dignity of all were respected. Mandela created social change in the world and inspired millions.
Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves. Nelson Mandela
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Nelson Mandela
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
We envision a more socially just and better world, in which the freedom, justice and dignity of all are respected- where everyone has an equal opportunity for a good life-access to food, clean water, shelter, work, education and healthcare and no-one is restricted from living a “good life” because of their gender, who they love, the colour of their skin, disability, socio-economic class, caste or whatever global geographical area they happen to have been born into; this leads to suffering for individuals, communities, and societies as a whole.
TANAKA AFRICA wants to ethically and culturally enrich your home by imbuing it with the ambiance and nuanced stories of Africa with handmade art home decor while honouring the artisans who make them. Art is a universal language that connects across cultures and communicates in a visceral and emotional tone that all can understand. Art can be a platform for dialogue and social change that can inspire a new vision. Art invites us to reflect on which stories we choose to value and privilege and which narratives we choose to exclude and ignore. Africa’s stories have historically been muted and we believe that we can change this tradition through the shifting of our societal attitudes towards power, privilege, justice and equality. We are convinced that a piece of Tanaka Africa’s art home decor residing with you in your home can become a symbol of social change tangibly celebrating and privileging the story of African culture and heritage-and a conversation.
Its purchase tangibly privileges and celebrates the story of African culture and heritage. Tanaka - is a Zimbabwean Shona language term meaning 'We are beautiful' and TANAKA AFRICA believes that “we can be beautiful together”. We believe in “trade-not aid”- a fair trade reciprocal exchange. Purchasing African artisans’ products is a concrete and powerful action for social change- it is a potent tool in the global redistribution of wealth and resources as it empowers artisans’ local economy, sustains and creates artisanal jobs, preserves traditional African design practices that have been passed down through the generations and celebrates the cultural heritage of their community. It is our mission to help customers understand that “they can change the world and make a difference” through consumerism and that they can help others by helping themselves.