South Africa

Mohair

An atypical wool

Originating from Turkey, the mohair goat has been renowned since ancient times for the whiteness and the diamond sheen of its fibre. The goat’s curly fleece gives the fibre outstanding elasticity, making weaves highly resistant to creasing. Soft yet durable, above all it has an unparalleled sheen.

More than two hundred years ago, breeders in the Camdeboo region at the tip of South Africa, close to Cape Town, began to produce a rare variety of goat with an immaculate white coat, the mohair goat. The secrets of rearing these goats have been handed down from generation to generation. The animals are fed with the utmost care and their fleece is regularly treated with natural oils to make it sleeker and more luxurious.

A high-quality mohair should be white with a sheen that reflects light like the fire of a diamond. To obtain this diamond brilliance, though, nature needs a helping hand, with constant, painstaking work.

Under the guidance of the Michau family, the farmers of Camdeboo have devoted themselves with passion to exploiting the exceptional potential of their goats and producing the most beautiful mohair possible. Everyone here is dedicated to the production of Camdeboo mohair. The 3,500 goats in the family’s flock are the queens of a breathtakingly beautiful landscape of 2,400 hectares of wild valleys.

A rider leads a flock of goats across the veld, the local name given to the grassy savannah where aloes flourish.

Herding kids in the pasture to lead them to the shearing shed. Young goats are not easy to steer. Several herdsmen and a dog are needed to herd a flock without the risk of losing any animals.

A woman from Filies’ team sorts the wool from mohair goats that have just been shorn. After separation by fineness and colour, batches will be sent to the woollen mill for washing, combing or carding. Then, depending on the partners, the mohair will go to local spinners or for export. Mohair goats have no under-fleece, and the hair is therefore cut and not combed. Here, the shearer is using sheep shears, like sprung scissors, traditionally used for manual shearing. Mohair kids will give an average of 1 to 1.5 kg of wool while an adult will give 2 to 3 kg, although the fibre will be coarser.

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