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Hilda Mgaga – Skillfully woven hardwire baskets

Gogo Hilda Mgaga, a skilled wire basket weaver, holding 2 of her hardwire baskets

Our hearts always fill with joy when Gogo Hilda Mgaga arrives at Woza Moya.

Hilda is close to 80 years old and has been earning a living for many many years by making her special hardwire bowls in her unique designs.

She grew up on a farm in Newcastle and was raised by her grandparents, as her mother left her when she was 5 months old and she never knew her.

Hilda relocated to Durban when she was 16 to look for work and lived with her grandmother’s sister. In Durban she met a man who made wire baskets and he taught his technique to her. She became highly skilled in making these baskets.

The technique of these hardwire baskets is different to the scooby baskets as a heavy gauge wire is used and the thin scooby wire is coiled around it to create the pattern. This is much harder work on the hands and the baskets are stronger and heavier.

The patterns come to Hilda as she makes the baskets. She says that the designs flow through her from her head through her heart to her hands. Making hardwire baskets is hard work and requires strength, but despite Hilda’s hands being scared and blistered she loves the work.

Even though Hilda is a pensioner she likes to keep busy and makes baskets and the extra money helps her get by as she was supporting her children who have now become independent. She currently lives alone.

Hilda is finding the trip into Woza Moya increasingly more difficult and now relies on a friend to assist her.
She’s pictured here holding the bowls she brought in today and we have others in stock too.

We pay Hilda for each bowl she brings in and are also able to pay her an additional commission each time one sells.

We further assist her by buying in the wire she needs and selling it to her at cost price when she visits. This saves her an additional trip to the wire supplier.

Please contact us on orders@wozamoya.co.za if you would like to purchase one of Hilda’s bowls.

Price is R3200 and diameters vary between 36 and 39cm.


Hilda Mgaga holding 2 of the wire baskets she wove by hand during February 2024
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