About the Founders
I was born and grew up in South Africa and left to go to the U.S. on a tennis scholarship when I was 18. I have always had an immense love for Africa. After being away from Africa for 4 years that love and longing for Africa brought on many conversations with other African students in the United States. We discussed the many great things that Africa offered. The pull that Africa has on our hearts was widely discussed and debated by many of us that have grew up in Africa and after much discussion we decided that the pull of Africa was intangible and was far too many things to put a finger on. We came up with the term Woodsmoke that stands for the intangible love, longing, and pull that Africa will always have on our hearts. Woodsmoke stands for the smell after a heavy rain, the never ending sunsets over an empty African beach, the constant laughter of African children, and the constant willingness of Africans to sit and chat with you for hours. Woodsmoke is sitting around a crackling campfire after spending a long, hot day in the African bush.
This love for Africa prompted me to find a way to bring over the African Woodsmoke to the United States. The idea that I came up with was to distribute authentic, hand-made African products in the United States. The products will bring a piece of the African Woodsmoke to the people of the United States. The products can only bring a part of the African Woodsmoke to customers in the U.S. so we decided that an African Cafe that displays the African culture would be a great way to do this. The cafe is in the pipeline but because of capital is not ready to be up and running.
Sean Coetzee (President & CEO)
I was born in Atlanta, GA and moved to Zambia when I was three. I lived there for the next 14 years of my life so when I was growing up Zambia was home for me. I went to a boarding school in Kijabe, Kenya for 10 through 12th grade and during this time I began to develop strong ties to Kenya as well as Zambia. When went to the United States for University I started to realize how much of a grip Africa had on me and since then I have always had a deep longing to return home. I started this company with Sean in order to make a positive contribution to the African people and the culture that has become such an intricate part of my life. We both hope to leave a piece of that Woodsmoke, that intangible feeling we have, with you so you can see how Africa has had such a positive affect on our lives.