World, meet Manelisi!

  • By Kirsti Nagel

World, meet Manelisi!


When seeing “Hand crafted” on a beautiful product, have you ever thought about who actually ‘hand crafts’ it? Putting faces to the lovely humans whose hands bring to life the extraordinary visions of our Creative Directors and Designers might just hit you right in the feels!



In 2004, The Eastern Cape suffered a great loss as a man by the name of Manelisi transferred to the Cape in search of work. For a long time (and I mean a long time) he struggled to find work in order to support himself! Fast forward ten years (I told you it was a long time) and he found himself a job as part of a garden service in Salt River. “I was cleaning gardens, sisi. Fixing and cutting grass.”, Manelisi says.



Come 2015, Research Unit was giving the workshop space a facelift and needed a painter. An employee brought him in to do the painting and the rest was history! Well… the RU Directors, Erin-Lee and Chad, asked what experience he had and if he could hand stitch, began to teach him from scratch, and then the rest was history!

Manelisi is now the main Research Unit product assembler and table hand! He has also acquired hand stitching skills and helps at the drop of a hat!


“Take a video of me working, I have a flash.” The sassy poses, as well as the hard work, Manelisi is an asset to the Research Unit brand and always has everyone in…Stitches! (Pun intended)

World, meet Manelisi!


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