- Africa's black diamond

Farmer swakara

The fur of the Namibian Karakul sheep is known as Swakara, an abbreviation for South West African Karakul. Karakul sheep have been bred in Namibia since 1907, when the first sheep were imported from Central Asia.

In a country where the stony desert and sandy soil limit agricultural activities, Karakul breeding is an important source of income. Karakul breeding in Namibia accounts for annual export earnings of 4.5 to 5.5 million Euros. The industry employs close to 20,000 people in the primary and satellite industries. Given Namibia's social structure, most people working in the industry are families whose sole source of income is Karakul breeding.

In addition to contributing to the sustainability of the Namibian society, the sheep help increase and maintain the vegetation in the barren desert which covers 80 percent of the country. As they stomp on the grass while grazing for food, they actually plant the grass seeds further into the ground. Grass seeds which the wind would otherwise carry away.

Swakara has earned its rightful place as a favourite amongst designers and fashion houses for its exclusive appeal, lustrous sheen and truly distinctive pattern of compact curves and swirls. While the natural colours of Karakul sheep consist of black, grey, white and brown, you will find over 200 different tone variations. Even one grey coloured Karakul features over five natural tones.

Through a partnership with Kopenhagen Fur, Namibian sheep breeders and the Namibian government cooperated with the European Union to formulate and regulate a Code of Practice ensuring the welfare of the Karakul sheepThis work resulted in a Code of Practice which not only complies with European legislation and recommendations but also recommendations from the US, Canada and New Zealand. Meaning proud owners of Swakara fur garments can be assured of a quality eco-product produced in line with international standards.

Swakara is sold exclusively through Kopenhagen Fur.