Twiga Mbundi: A Tanzanian Dream

Tanzanian jewelry designer Twiga Mbundi is an art dealer, and to our excitement – turned jewelry designer.

Twiga came to the United States in 1985, after working as a civil engineer in her homeland of Tanzania. A truly courageous woman, Mbunda was the first person to leave her small village to pursue a life abroad and hopes that her experiences can serve as inspiration for others to explore the world and their potential.

She came into the art dealing world professionally two years later in 1987 as the result of a unique crossroad: she saw that her credentials from Tanzania as a civil engineer did not transfer over in the U.S. and she was not finding the unique and diversified jewelry options that she was familiar with in her home country. So in 1987, not wasting any time, Twiga opened her gallery, Twiga African Art, and debuted her jewelry line!


Unlike the majority of jewelers, Twiga does not sketch out her drawings; she admits that she cannot draw at all, and that with child-like play she creates her wearable art from sitting and playing with the stones and findings until the right combination surfaces!


Her handmade pieces are crafted from unique materials and stones that she collects during her travels throughout the globe. Twiga searches for pieces with intrinsic beauty and history. Each part of her collection is composed of pieces that she discovers that date back at least 100 years, for a truly unique and literally timeless piece.


A hard worker with ambitious humanitarian goals, Twiga did not stop with her gallery and line. She puts her money to work, with her proceeds going toward the efforts of the Mbinga Children’s Organization. Twiga founded the organization in southern Tanzania in 2007 in memory of her brother, who was killed in 1989 leaving behind six daughters, in support of young children in East Africa.  The organization uses funds from Twiga African Art towards construction of an orphanage on 12 acres of land previously purchased by the Twiga Project.  The orphanage will provide education and shelter for young girls whose parents have passed away from AIDS. They have worked in tandem with the local government to ensure that teachers will be provided, as well as medical assistance for the children once the complex is completed.  Twiga has also partnered with Global Partners for Development in an effort to strengthen their presence both in Africa and internationally.

With her mission and philosophy of making things happen in hand, we look forward to more design and humanitarian work from a true changemaker.


“I believe in hard work, everyone back home works very hard, and I enjoy it.”

Twiga Mbundi





All images courtesy of Twiga Mbundi.

6 Comments on Twiga Mbundi: A Tanzanian Dream


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