YSWARA harnesses African ancient knowledge in collecting the World’s largest selection of fine African teas. Each blend is a creation by its Ivorian born founder/CEO Swaady Martin-Leke during her time as an MBA student and every detail of YSWARA is woven together to create an exceptional experience. The company started out as a gourmet tea company in 2012 and has slowly evolved to create products from Africa and transform them into the finer things of Life. YSWARA’s products are a symbol of the ingenuity and tradition cradled in the hearts of the African people. It enthuses creativity and craftsmanship and the distinctiveness hidden within our culture.
HOW IT STARTED
Africans have long understood the healing power of plants. The fragrant leaves of the hibiscus have long been popular in Western Africa; drinking kinkeliba bush tea is a daily ritual for many in Senegal and Gambia. Rooibos, honeybush and buchu were harvested by the Khoisan people of Southern Africa and are still celebrated for their medicinal properties. Today, YSWARA harnesses this ancient knowledge in collecting the world’s largest selection of fine African teas. Orthodox teas are grown in the verdant fields of the finest African tea estates, whether it be the rolling hills of Rwanda’s Rukeri Estate or the misty peaks of Malawi’s Shire Highlands. Each of these rare leaves is handpicked and sun-dried, processed on their individual farms using only natural methods.
Largely celebrated for its tea range, YSWARA boasts of having the largest selection in the world interestingly sourced from the finest tea estates in African countries such as Malawi, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya etc. The story telling characteristics and aesthetics of its line of twenty seven teas takes a user indulgence beyond taste while, infusing in every brew, details of ancestry, luxury, culture and values.These indigenous plants of Africa are exceptionally infused to make the finest teas in the world;
Rooibos green & red from South Africa, Honeybush green & red from South Africa, Buchu from South Africa, Wild Yam from Nigeria, Penja pepper from Cameroon (Poivre du Penja) and the Kola nut from Nigeria.
The concept is no fluke; Swaady, who identifies as a ‘Panafropolitan’ having lived in several cities of the world is driven by passion to place Africa on the centre stage by industrialising its vast resources to produce superior quality products that can compete in the global market place. Nurtured in African soil, handpicked by farmers in the region, exquisitely packaged by indigenous artisans and given an identity through African heritage, YSWARA is living its version of the ‘African Dream’.
If you were to scan my heart, you will see it has the shape of Africa!
– Swaady Martin
YSWARA’s focus shift from tea to include tea time accessories, ornaments, chocolates, home fragrances stretches the array of luxury items Africa is daring to offer to the world. Available in high end stores in South Africa, France, Nigeria, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritius, Benin and an online store for universality, the socially conscious YSWARA embeds the philosophy Luxe Ubuntu succinctly coined by Swaady to describe the concept of an inclusive luxury business model, in which the entire supply value chain who are instrumental to the manufacturing of its luxury product become recipients of the economic value generated from their luxury products. In all its opulence, YSWARA’s allure is evident in altering Africa from being merely extractive to economically active.
An added feather to its cap, YSWARA recently opened its Moroccan themed luxurious tea room in Johannesburg, South Africa to the delight of tea drinkers and lovers of all things beautiful.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
YSWARA has stretched its reach from Johannesburg, South Africa, across the African continent and into global markets. It has also received enormous media attention as a luxury brand that is truly African in origin, nature and tradition. In 2013, YSWARA gained recognition as the First African brand nominated for Best New Talent in the Luxury Industry and has been featured in numerous television broadcasts, interviews with the likes of CNN, BBC, Forbes and Le Monde. The brand has also been associated with several celebrities and international designers.
YSWARA’s founder, Swaady Martin-Leke, has received numerous distinctions and awards. Among them, she was named on Oprah Winfrey’s O Power List 2014. In 2012, she was hand-picked to be part of the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme and named one of the “Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes. YSWARA has presented gift sets to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama upon request of the US Embassy in South Africa. Other celebrities who have received YSWARA teas include Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, as well as British actress Thandie Newton and several other international celebrities.
YSWARA features a range of tea collections from Thousand Hills Majesty, Thyolo Slopes, Askia of Songhai, Ibimanuka, Ooni of Ife etc. They also produce teatime accessories such as Copper Plated Cradle Infuser Spoon, Copper Plated Infuser Spoon, Copper Plated Oval Tea Infuser with dish, Copper Plated Tea measuring Spoon, Teatime Aromatherapy soy Candles. Their products are stocked all over the world in stores including Brewit, The Saxon, Four Seasons Westcliff, &Beyond, Cavalli, Motherland Coffee, Tribe, Alara, Regalo, So Design, A L’UNITHÉ etc.
An inspirational pioneer, YSWARA’s story is progressive, taking a path less travelled as it redefines the African story through the struggles to exude elegance.
Luxe Ubuntu is manifested in the spirit of kinship and is upheld by the ideals of compassion, dignity, harmony and humanity. YSWARA strives to expand the meaningful income of its suppliers by developing globally a taste for high quality African-made products and providing routes to market for their products. Yswara’s LUXE UBUNTU is…
• reversing the commodity trap by keeping the value-add in Africa
• uplifting African farmers and artisans especially women by giving them routes to new markets and expanding their production capability and meaningful income
• contributing to the rebranding of Africa by pushing the barriers of excellence of African-made products
• supporting the conservation and promotion of Africa’s cultural heritage
• fostering the contemporary African identity through a dialogue between tradition and modernity