One year ago, I got an email from Tina Lutz of Lutz & Patmos. Tina was inquiring about apparel production in Africa. I was thrilled to hear that their new guest designer was to be Archbishop Desmond Tutu! I already knew Lutz & Patmos had been dedicating at least one style per season to a charity, and since this project would benefit the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in Cape Town, I shared all my South African contacts. I wasn’t surprised that Tina chose to work with Hillcrest Aids Center Trust.
With a mission statement of “empowering and uplifting people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS to become economically self-sufficient through the production of crafts within their own environment,” I remembered that I had briefly filmed at Hillcrest — maybe an hour or two at the most. To my surprise, I did not have much craft footage, and here is why:

In 2007 I spent 2 months in Africa gathering anecdotes for my Mirror/Africa project. After a busy month in Madagascar, I had only one day free before moving on to Lesotho, so I decided to fly into Durban to visit the Hillcrest AIDS Center. My friend Tamsin Smith — the founding president of (RED) and long-time advocate of trade ties with Africa — tipped me off to the amazing women beaders and quilters there. I had expected to be moved by mission of this faith based group, but hadn’t expected them to be creating such original and stylish works of art. I think that I shopped more than I filmed that day. But I did document some treasures. I came across a man in the Hillcrest garden, who was planting & potting with great care. He looked like a potential draft for the NBA. However his uniform was a Hillcrest apron and his title was “Horticulturist.” He was very much more than that and his name was Sphiwe. Below is a picture of this man, given by his twin brother. ~NMH

About Sphiwe Dennis Madlala – by Mandla Madlala (Sphiwe’s twin brother):
He was born in December 22, 1978 in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal
and he moved out of Pietermaritzburg to Molweni in 1990 and he died in
He passed away September 30, 2007 it was on Sunday.
He was 32 years old when he passed away.
He had one child before passing away.
He liked gospel and R&B.
There is a lot of things that Sphiwe did before he died.
He started to play soccer for Leken Stars, Swallows, then he moved to Brazil F.C. to play as a striker and the goalkeeper. After two years, Sphiwe became a coach for Brazil F.C., and he liked soccer same as me. He was a good coach for Brazil F.C. He looked after the club and he was a good communicator with the players, and he was also one of the managers of the team. I remember a lot of things that Sphiwe did at that time. The club was playing in West zone league and the club became position 3. When Sphiwe died the club was also finished at that time.

Director: Nicole Mackinlay Hahn
Music: “Sanctus (Heilig, heilig, heilig)” by Ladysmith Black Mambazo