The Ma(i)de Model unleashes the most underestimated in a society by harnessing the ironic yet insane power of silence, invisibility, and obscurity. We run quite a few pioneering ventures that awaken historically unheard voices whilst elevating them to their rightful place in our social and economic order. As a third party common to all South African realities, domestic workers in particular provide us a powerful lens to navigate the most uncharted territory. Our inquiries are not limited to any single medium: they range from broadcasting, to economics, to fashion, to architecture, to storytelling, and so much more.

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Not uninspired by Her Majesty of talk, Oprah Winfrey, the ladies kick off 2017 with lessons learnt from their favourite shows of 2016. These may look and sound like New Year’s resolutions but that’s just a coincidence…Oprah would NEVER make everyman New Year’s Resolutions…only timeless pearls of wisdom.

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The Ma(i)de Sessions hosts explore architecture’s social and psychological properties and the impact that it has on domestic workers in South Africa, i.e. how does physical space affect our head-space? South Africa’s history in particular is a prime example of how space has been used to segregate, oppress, exploit, and to monopolise power – this was the architecture of Apartheid. This phenomenon can still be mapped on varying scales, down to our very own homes. Who better than our very own Tuliza, architect extraordinaire, to help us understand our social blueprint through 6 key lenses.

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Do you know the difference between the au pair industry and the domestic work industry? The origin might surprise you, but it will really clarify the dynamics. Our resident au pair Mbali is interviewed to uncover the real and perceived differences between such similar roles, as well as what created it. Self-reflection is the order of the day. Take a listen. Image: moonassi

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Office cleaners are a huge asset to companies. Think about it. Who would want to work or spend their money in squalor? How would it affect your day if the office restrooms were stinky and the coffee station was unstocked. How would it affect your business if the client slipped on a banana peel? They create the necessary conditions for the machine to churn. Perhaps most importantly though, they have untapped expertise on trimming overheads – ahhh, bet that got your attention…

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After being strangled within an inch of her life in her own home, Penny didn’t run from crime – instead she took it head on! She spearheaded Domestic Watch, a programme that works with domestic workers and gardeners to fight crime in South Africa. By leveraging the powerful networks and intelligence held by these women and men, Domestic Watch has made Johannesburg’s neighbourhoods significantly safer for us all.

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Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a force of nature. She is both a legendary songstress and an active civil society leader. Celebrated across the world as one of the Mothers of our Nation, it all began with her very own mother, who was a domestic worker. Yvonne’s story is testament to the remarkable power of domestic workers in South Africa. Join her for an exclusive interview with the domestic workers of the Ma(i)de Sessions, and discover a side to this South African icon’s story that few people have heard.

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Are we our industry name? A mere collection of adjectives? Pronouns, tags, stereotypical labels? Tuliza explores, with Afrikaans Urban Planner Lené le Roux, the many titles that have defined the lady in your home and how those words have mutated with the sometimes messy presence of culture, prejudice and personal opinion. Where do you fit into all of this? Let’s find out.

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Felicia and Amanda had very different upbringings. Where their lives intersected was not just through domestic work, but also their deep mutual love for animals of the domesticated kind. Although sometimes a horror story between domestic worker and family pet, this dynamic duo helps us explore the source of their common love for these creatures of nurture through Lulu and Frankie’s biltong and teeth brushing habits.

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Do you know how to make a baby bottle? Wash a dog? Mow the lawn? Discipline a child that is not yours? We start today with the first of The Interview Series, where we will conduct less-than-conventional interviews on behalf of a high profile ‘madam’ in search of a perfect fit. Mfundo kicks it off with some kasi insights on all things domestic and helps us answer the age old question: what is the right way to wash and stack dishes?!

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