Most woven baskets are made from reeds that grow in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate and a different vegetation. After a few months of trial and error, Nonophela realised that Typha (bulrush/cattail) is an ideal plant to use for basket production. This reed is often among the first wetland plants to colonise areas of newly exposed wet mud. With their abundant wind-dispersed seeds and dense canopy, Typha often excludes other plants. Human habitation increases nutrient levels and can contribute to uncontrolled growth and wetlands drying out.
Nonophela works with crafters in Masiphumelele to create a range of baskets made from Typha. Income from basket productions enables the crafters to return to their families and to buy land in Malawi.