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Our Story


Mandara is a South African lifestyle brand. An independent label that is owned and operated by founder Madeleine Zietsman from sunny Durban South Africa

Mandara bags are unique, bold and inspired by Madeleine’s travels to exotic locations around the globe. Each bag is meticulously hand crafted by a team of passionate and skilled women who take pride in each creation.

Madeleine, a travel enthusiast, spent some time working abroad and it was during this time, while working in remote northern Thailand, she was fortunate to spend time with P Noi a local leather artist who taught her the art of crafting handmade leather bags. It was in Thailand that Madeleine designed a gorgeous leather bag that was meant to be a once-off, but instead has grown into a collection with an incredibly loyal following.

The Mandara aesthetic is grounded in patterns, lush textures of different leathers and playful detailing brought back from her travels. Each piece is hand cut and designed with the intention to be beautiful but also functional. Not every woman has the luxury of an exotic escape, but Mandara’s handmade pieces inspire a sense of mystery and adventure in our everyday lives.


Mandara handbags embody quality, beauty and longevity. Using the finest leather,each bag is carefully handmade to not only create an alluring and unique product, but also one that lasts a long time.
Leather is a natural product and unlike synthetic materials which deteriorate or break with age, leather improves as it matures! Mandara bags are made from various leathers, some of which are game (such as buffalo, kudu and gemsbok), which have been legally culled for ecological sustainability. Some of the leather may contain natural scarring due to the natural environment that the animal originated from, however, these natural flaws add a unique and beautiful element to the leather.


                              Meet the team

                Madeleine                        Norma                          Bongi     


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