The hope of a better future under the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, gave Carol and the team at Gala Star the inspiration and drive to create beautiful artworks, and to unite the women of South Africa by setting them on a journey of skills development to help them overcome the poverty in which they found themselves.

Through our creations, we share our love of Africa and our stories with the world!

Our achievements


Our number of sales, employees, and product range have all grown continuously since our establishment in 1994.


We employ over 30 staff in full- time positions, and a further 170 employees through our “share-time” initiative.


We are part of the top 10 manufacturers and suppliers of African curios to tourism-centred retail organisations in Africa.


We serve over 1 000 wholesale and corporate gift customers around the world. Many of our retail clients have been purchasing and selling our products, which constitute a major component of their product offering, for over 20 years.


We offer over 600 products - all of which are designed, hand-cast and hand-painted by our artists - that encapsulate the spirit of Africa. We continue to innovate and create, producing new designs or tailoring designs for our customers.


We are a licensee and contributor to the
Mandela School Library Project and Literacy Program. Our core staff has meaningful ownership in our business, with profits being focused on their continued education and community.

Our people

Our people are the reason why Carol founded Gala Star, to upskill artisans and create work for local communities, such that they can create better lives for themselves and their families.

Gala Star has a small management team operating across the two divisions in the organisation.

Meet our leadership team



Carol founded Gala Star in 1994 with the creation of the first two beautiful African chess sets. She has grown Gala Star to be a market leader in the African gift, curio, and decor markets; as well as creating new markets in the corporate gift and specialised hand-cast molding markets. Carol is a true example of faith-based servant leadership, and truly works hard at job creation and supporting her staff to improve their lives. Gala Star has, at times, run on faith in the early days, and Carol has a deep emotional connection with the artists and crafts people who make Gala Star such a success story. Carol has managed to juggle the demands of running a growing business with being a wife and mother, with a selfless drive to help and serve others. Gala Star is a source of upliftment and opportunity for so many families, and Carol is humbled to be the founder and leader of such an organisation.



Shadrack is a proud father of four and an avid soccer player and fan. His story is a true example of a determined individual raising himself out of an economically disadvantaged background. He joined Gala Star as his first employer and through hard work, loyalty and mentorship from Carol has risen to one of the senior management team at Gala Star over the last 16 years. Shadrack has also managed to complete qualifications in Business Management from the University of South Africa, and is now a key mentor and leader in his family, Gala Star, and his community.



Sagren joined Gala Star in 2018 after the acquisition of the Nest Egg business that had been operating as the market leader in decoupaged ostrich eggs for over 18 years in South Africa. Sagren is originally from Durban and loves his wife and two children, as well as the ocean and fishing. He originally joined Nest Egg in 2000 and continues to enjoy the challenges of working in a unique hand-made products environment that never has a dull moment. Sagren was key to the successful transition of the business to Gala Star and has since seen the business grow to new heights since being part of Gala Star. Sagren obtained a diploma in Production and Supervision from Damelin and is dedicated to the shared value of the customer coming first, a pillar of Gala Star’s growth and success.



Thalu has an inspiring story of what is possible for those who work hard and are faithful. Thalu initially lost her parents when she was 10 years old, and with the support of a loving aunt who works at Gala Star managed to complete her degree at the University of Venda. Thalu then joined Gala Star after her aunt suggested that Carol interview her and the rest is history. Thalu is key to customer service delivery and Carol, Sagren and Shadrack have all come to rely on her efficiency and great work ethic in order to keep delivering such high levels of service to our customers. Thalu loves playing soccer and cooking, and is looking forward to continued growth within Gala Star.

Our history

Origins of Gala Star and the Kumbula iAfrica range

Carol founded Gala Star CC in 1994 with the creation and release of the first tribal and then Big Five animal chess sets. Gala Star has grown to be a market leader in the curio, gift and decor market in Southern Africa, and has a significant corporate gifting presence, with their beautiful and high-quality products being in high demand from foreign tourists, business travellers, and of lovers of Africa from all around the globe.

Initially, Carol worked with artists (including Jayne Galassi) to sculpt and carve all the figures and board designs, and outsourced the moulding of the polystone pieces that her team would then hand-paint. In the late 1990s, Gala Star purchased the moulding and woodwork and moved the entire production process in-house. A few years later, Gala Star moved to its current production facility based on a small rural plot of land in Muldersdrift, where the majority of Carol’s artists and staff lived. This helped make Gala Star jobs more accessible to the rural community that previously had to travel quite some distance to get to work.


Carol’s team at Gala Star design, mould, hand-paint, and craft our own woodwork; produce our own boards; and keep as much of the entire creation and production process as in-house as possible.


The range of moulded and hand-painted chess sets grew to include other board games, figures, magnets, and other home decor products. This range of beautiful African curios and décor items has been branded under the Kumbula iAfrica brand, which operates under Gala Star.


The Kumbula iAfrica brand and division has experienced year-on-year growth for the last 25 years, and over 200 wholesale orders a month keep the production manager, Shadrack, incredibly busy. Shadrack has been with Carol since leaving school and has become Carol’s right-hand man for all things Kumbula iAfrica, as he knows the intricacies of the complete production process, as well as how to maximise the results within the growing team of staff and artists.


In 1996, Gala Star’s management introduced Share Time as a means to increase employment in the local community. Under Share Time, mothers in communities where the Gala Star team lives are able to earn an income by painting magnets and other smaller pieces. This has been a continuous success story over the decades.


Gala Star now employs more than 30 staff, and through initiatives like Share Time, provides a source of income to more than 250 households. Gala Star supplies over 1 000 retail outlets and corporates including government departments and ministries who find that these beautiful pieces are the ideal gift for foreign dignitaries.


Gala Star has, over the last 25 years, grown the business to a considerable size, and we are able to ship these amazing products around the world in reliable, high-quality packaging at a reasonable base cost.


Through the years, the product range of Gala Star has expanded extensively. From chess sets and numerous other games, to a huge range of magnets, pencils, pens, collectables, trophies, political pieces, and much more.


Numerous Mandela themed pieces and products are manufactured under license from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and a portion of proceeds from every item sold is given to the foundation. We take pleasure in being able to help children in need who will reap the benefit from each piece created and sold.


Acquisition of the market-leading decoupage ostrich egg producer

In 2018, Carol purchased one of the longest standing and most reputable decoupage egg suppliers to the African curio market. After a year of re-engineering the design and production process, Carol and the long-standing manager of the decoupage egg business, Sagren, created a new business division flying alongside Gala Star.

Gala Star is now the largest purchaser of ostrich eggs in South Africa and creates a sustainable income for ostrich farmers in the Muldersdrift region. The acquisition of the decoupage ostrich egg business has created more income opportunities in the area with increased rates of employment.

Gala Star is committed to using real, authentic ostrich eggs, and avoids manufacturing eggs out of plastic or resin. All eggs are correctly treated for export and adhere to the highest quality standards.

Launching the retail initiative

Gala Star has traditionally sold its creations through a network of “curio” and tourist-based shops throughout Africa, as well as a growing corporate gift market. Carol has been working with Richard, her son, and their business partner Shaun, to find the best way to meet the demands of individuals outside of South Africa who would like to purchase these beautiful pieces of African art and décor.

After some testing with an Etsy store as well as a mini online shop for Unique Themed Chess Sets, Gala Star, along with Richard and Shaun, have launched Amazing Africa Gifts with the view of creating an online African gift, decor, curio and art megastore wherein Gala Star, and subsequently other artisans and craftspeople, can make their beautiful African themed gifts, decor, art and curios available to the world.

Contact us to bring our products to your customers

Here at Gala Star, we value each and every one of our clients. Some of our clients are small, family-owned retail outlets that purchase only a small range of gifts every few months, right up to huge airport duty-free shops which spend hundreds of thousands on our products every month. Our team holds every client in high regard, and we would love to talk to you about how we can help you grow your revenue by working with us and selling our beautiful products.

For clients outside of South Africa, we collaborate with you in finding the right logistical solutions to get our products to you timeously and at the lowest possible cost. Many of our of clients - such as zoos and entertainment parks - love our range of products because they can be tailored and branded, especially our range of animal board games, gifts and decor which are sold throughout the United States of America and Europe.

Please reach out to us regarding any queries, including corporate gift ideas and needs. Contact or

We look forward to working with you to spread our love of Africa, its wildife and its people around the world, by helping you sell beautiful, high-quality products to your customers.

If you want to buy any of our products as a retail client, please visit to view our range, or buy the perfect gift for a loved one, or a treat for yourself!

Mandela Official Licensee

GalaStar CC produces beautiful Nelson Mandela themed products and we are official licensees under official certification from the Mandela School Library Project and Licensing Program.

A percentage of each sale of all of our Mandela products goes to the Participate for Good program to help fund their work on literacy in South Africa.

For more information and related organisations please visit

We are proud to play a small part in helping improve literacy in South Africa, something we also work with our staff and their families on a bit closer to home.

For a copy of our certification, please email us and we will forward all details.

Thank you for supporting our team of craftspeople and artists, as well as literacy in South Africa. Your purchase makes an impact on so many levels.