Mohair – South Africa’s natural, sustainable resource
Monday, 29th October 2018
You might think mohair is just a beautifully soft fabric, perfect for stunning scarfs and gorgeous jerseys, but there’s much more to the ‘noble fibre’ than the end product. Mohair production is supremely important to the South African economy, with the industry supporting over 800 farms across the country and an estimated 30 000 dependents. Mohair exports has generated approximately R1.5 billion to the South African economy.
Mohair is one of the world’s most ancient fibres with an incredible array of unique qualities. Its natural lustre gives it a silky sheen, and the fibre retains even the most brilliant dye colours over time. It is luxuriously lightweight with renowned versatility, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer; a garment made of mohair will ‘breathe’ naturally, controlling its own climate to keep you at the perfect level of comfort.
With all these amazing qualities and more, it is no wonder that mohair is coveted by the world’s fashion industry elite, as well as interior designers, craft specialists and everyone who loves a warm, comfortable and lightweight fabric.
South Africa is the biggest global producer of the fibre, generating about half the world’s mohair. The gentle, charismatic Angora goats, from which the fibre is shorn, have been refined through consistent high breeding standards and meticulous genetic selection. They thrive in the Karoo, with its ideal combination of hot, dry summers, cold winters, and semi-desert vegetation. The Eastern Cape is where most mohair is produced, and Port Elizabeth has become known as the mohair capital of the world, with the majority of the world’s mohair passing through its port.
Crucially, mohair is a natural, renewable resource, taking nothing from the earth and leaving nothing behind. Angora goats are shorn twice a year and are not harmed in any way during the process. With the perfect combination of best practice farming and best environment for the goats, this provides a beautifully sustainable production chain between animal and human.
It is evident that this sustainable, natural resource can and does provide a means of contributing to long-term prosperity of the Karoo region and our economy as a whole, while maintaining a natural harmony with our country’s environment.