African Angels of the Karoo
Did you know?
Many of the 'African Angels' come from very poor rural areas.
At first glance, the little Karoo town of Cradock seems an unlikely place to start a beauty therapy school called African Angels. Why here, in this rural area among merino sheep, angora goats, fields of lucerne, pecan nuts and maize?
A hundred years ago, the reasons might have been clearer. In those days Cradock was renowned as a health-giving place where those suffering from tuberculosis (often referred to as consumption) went to recover.
The altitude, the dry, clean air and the exhilarating, bacteria-killing cold of winter helped restore those with weak lungs, and some of Cradock’s foremost citizens today are descended from people who came for its healing powers.
When Lucille Ferreira, a health and beauty therapist with 12 years’ experience, moved to Cradock, she immediately saw its potential. She also saw there was a crying need for disadvantaged young women to be offered opportunities.
And so the 'Hum and Sun' ritual came about. As tour groups arrived at the historic Victoria Manor hotel with its street of restored 1850s houses, so visitors were offered a welcoming ritual.
The Xhosa women would sing, and while the visitors relaxed in the Karoo sun, the trained women would massage their hands or tired feet.
It was highly popular, and has now been expanded to greater training opportunities for more young women – who are called African Angels.
A formal training school is to be set up for the first 20 of them in beauty therapy and cosmetology. They are trained for 3 years and their first ‘tasks’ involve working with hospice and hospital patients, in maternity wards and at old age homes – anywhere that pampering and the laying on of comforting hands is appreciated.
They then carry on to exercise their skills through corporate functions, wellness tents, private functions and the like.
Several private game reserves in the Eastern Cape, like Amakhala and Kuzuko, take the African Angels on for several months at a time.
It's a win-win arrangement. The Angels get experience, and guests love it.
In addition, a wellness sanctuary is being envisaged for Cradock – which would neatly close the healing circle that first made the town famous so many years ago.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The Comfort Zone, Cradock
Tel: +27 (0) 82 773 5083