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  Umlungu trophies a highlight for podium finishers

Local South African craft manufacturer Umlungu was entrusted with the production of 192 Stage trophies for the Absa Cape Epic this year, which is handed out to all podium finishers in the evenings after the completion of each stage.
Umlungu was established in 1992 with the vision to create an export market for locally made Township craft. "The crafter has the idea and we create a sustainable market for the product.

After eight years of hard work, we’ve established Umlungu as a business, which is known worldwide to supply a craft product of consistently high quality, fair pricing and with excellent service. Over the years we’ve built and maintained long standing relationships with numerous informal crafters in Cape Town, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and more," says Robert Vogel, owner of Umlungu. Umlungu also produces a range of laser cut, hand painted laser products, known as Tin City, which is manufactured in Cape Town. There they employ 5 full time staff who give each item their own personal touch. Staff hails from the Eastern Cape, Zimbabwe and the Congo, amongst other places.

Painters from Rawsonville working on the trophies for the 2011 Absa Cape Epic

"A year ago we started training a new group of painters in Rawsonville, just outside of Worcester. We collaborate with a wine company which has a skills training initiative for female farm workers and we saw the opportunity to work together and involve them in painting some of our products. At the moment there are three ladies involved and we plan to generate more jobs as we increase our production in Rawsonville," says Vogel.

Vogel is also participating in the Absa Cape Epic this year with partner Ralton Roebert (team Bolt & Nutter). “This is my first Cape Epic and I was looking forward to it with trepidation. I was really nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. I trained long and hard, but there is always a little bit of doubt left whether the training was enough. I’m not riding at the sharp end of the spear with the pros; it’s more like clinging onto the blunt end of the shaft. Along with my partner we’re giving our best, pacing ourselves and savouring the experience,” he says.

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