Marlize Meyer: “The shop has an ethos – to support small communities and one man businesses.”
Working together since 2009, Marlize Meyer and Dudu Nkosi have gained oodles of experience at Africa Joy. Being so hands on (it’s rare not to find them both in the shop together) the duo know what makes their customers tick and without a doubt, Africa Joy presents one of the best aspects of eclectic, niche small town shopping that is the envy of city slicker visitors. A quick glance through the reviews on TripAdvisor reveals some thoughts from both visiting and local shoppers – “Beautiful handcrafts that support local artists. Very unique and creative things. Very friendly owner with a passion for Africa” and “Africa Joy is a must for all visitors and locals alike. Gifts, novelties and decor items are unique and well chosen. We had such fun browsing through all the beautiful items available. Marlize, the owner, explained that everything is sourced from African artists and creative designers. We found a variety of gifts in all price ranges and were very happy with how unique our purchases were. My sister took home loads of gifts for her friends in New Zealand!”
Unique, handmade pieces that irresistibly find their way into your bag, the broad range of products on display cover something for the home, body, accessories, toys, men, women and children. Locals pop in for small gifts and cards, tourists pick up a special something that reminds them of White River and their Lowveld travels. And that friendly, go all out for the customer approach of Dudu’s that sold Africa Joy to Marlize in the first place remains.
Pushed to reveal her most popular lines, Marlize reveals that Jenny Morgan Renssen’s Red Bush jewellery is the perennial hot seller because of the artist’s ability to keep her product fresh and affordable. One of our favourites is Le Lapin Porcelain – practical kitchen ceramics in cool ivory and grey with a splash of red, featuring cheeky bunnies, while Marlize admits a weakness for Khumbulani Jacaranda wood platters. Africa Joy overflows in December with funky African styled Christmas paraphernalia – fairy lights shaded with shweshwe fabric, hanging angels and stars too gorgeous to pack away on 12th night.
Keeping Africa Joy fresh and interesting means that Marlize is always on the lookout for new opportunities. Customers will often introduce a craftsman find of their own, while Marlize visits trade shows across the country. The stock has to be South African, and she smiles to herself when Cape Town visitors exclaim over items Africa Joy purchased from a Cape Town supplier that they wished they could find at home. The little White River jewel that is Africa Joy manages to find and shine a spotlight on treasures lost in big cities.
Dudu keeps a tight rein on what’s happening and will remind customers about the Africa Joy Customer Loyalty Card she has on file for them. Ticking off their regular purchases, she loves surprising them with a discount when their loyalty card is full.