MTHONJANENI CRAFT Directory
KwaZulu-Natal is well known in the craft industry with many producers scattered among the rural areas working from home in small groups or individually. The craft sector in Mthonjaneni is very informal in nature and goods are sold informally to the local community or at monthly pension points. In the past, craft was manufactured for household use in the form of sleeping mats, kitchen utensils, weapons and décor. In many rural area this tradition is upheld and forms the basis of trading and empowerment in rural communities. Crafts form a integral part of Zulu culture and encorporates beadwork, claypots, weaving, woodcarving and ceremonial artifacts. Most materials are gathered from nature or from recycled materials such as recycled copper wire. The crafters in the Mthonjaneni district are self-reliant and work in small groups with little or no funding or support but some crafters exhibit craft of very high standard.
THUBALETHU – MELMOTH
Contact number: 083 5040 334
Sbongile was born on 10 July 1958 and received formal education up to Grade 5. She received some training from the Dept. Agriculture and completed a certificate in Business Management and Computer Skills at Umfolozi FET College. She worked at Isithebe until 1993 and now has a small hairdressing business at the Mthonjaneni Busrank. In 2002 she drew inspiration to start beadworking after seeing work from other beadworkers from the Yanguye area at the Agricultural Show in Melmoth. She was identified by Department of Agriculture and sent for training at Kwanzimela. She also learnt more about beadworking from craft books at the local library. In 2002 and 2003 she won 1st prize at the Melmoth Agricultural Show and sells her beadwork locally at informal markets and to young girls participating in the Reed Dance.
THOKOZILE MADUNA (Beading)
Contact number: 073 189 5554
Thokozile was born at in 1951 at Kwamagwaza Hospital and grew up at Mfanafele. She received formal education up to Grade 11 at Mtembeni High School and is a very active member of the Yanguye community. She owns a Catering, Decorating and Draping business in Yanguye. Thokozile attented a Patchwork workshop presented by Ezandla Zethu but became interested in beading in 2007. She is mainly self-taught and finds inspiration in brightly coloured patterns from magazines and books. She has exhibited at the Melmoth Agricultural Show and sells her work at local and informal markets. She buys her supplies in Durban and teaches a small group of young girls beading. Thokozile has a natural flair for beading and has a good sense of colour and balance in her designs. Her work is of a very high standard
IGAZI PROJECT; The Igazi Project was initiated in the Yanguye area to the north of Melmoth by Thokozana Nkwanyane. There are 10 members in the group that meet and work together on various crafts such as beadwork, weaving and woodcarving. The group receive no financial aid or training and the skills are learnt by skills transfer from the older to the younger generation. To most of the group selling crafts is their main income and their crafts are sold locally. The group applied for Goverment funding from the Dept. Arts & Culture in 2009 for training and materials and hope to find a more stable markets for their crafts.
THOKOZANA NKWANYANE (Woodcarving)
Contact number: 076 5925 320
Thokozana was born in 1968 and received formal education up to Grade 8. He was trained as a bricklayer at NTC in Empangeni. In 1996 he returned to Yanguye and taught himself woodcarving. He is the founder of the Igazi Project and teaches the younger men in the area to carve. The wood is fetched from the Umfolozi area about 1 ½ hours walk from his home and then carried back to Yanguye. Thokozana sells his work at informal markets and on occasion at Richardsbay or Esikhaweni. He receives no financial aid and has no formal training. Thokozana makes beautifully finished and decorated wooden pots and walking sticks with creative decorations. His work is of a high standard.
HLENGIWE NKWANYANE (Beadwork)
Contact number: 076 3019 638
Hlengiwe was born in 1981 and received formal education up to Grade 12 at Yanguye High School.
She is mainly self-taught and sells her work from home. She buys her materials in Ulundi and Empangeni and receives no financial aid. Beadwork is her main income and she also makes Zulu sleeping mats which are sold locally.
BUSISIWE NKWANYANE (Brooms/Zulu sleeping mats)
Busisiwe was born in 1933 and grew up near Mhlabathini and worked as a seamstress. Busisiwe was taught weaving by her sisters. She buys wool for decoration in Melmoth and cuts grass for the mats in Yanguye. She is a pensioner and supplements her income by selling mats and brooms locally.
ZINHLE BIYELA (Beadwork)
Contact number: 073 850 6650)
Zinhle was born in 1983 and received formal education up to Grade 5. Zinhle is self-taught and beading is her main income.
T.M NXUMALO (Wooden Spoons/Beadwork)
Contact number: 079 329 3769)
T.M was born in 1942 and makes wooden spoons which he sells at local markets and from home. His wife does beadwork and both of them are self-taught. Selling their work is their main income.
CELUMUSA NTHANGASE (Spoons and Meat Platters)
Contact number: 079 568 0004)
Celumusa was born in 1976 and received formal education up to Grade 11 at Yanguye High School. He did temporary work in Gauteng but returned to Yanguye in 1996 and started woodcarving, a skill he was taught at school. He has received no other training but loves to work with wood and would like people to appreciate and use traditional utensils. He finds his materials in the Umfolozi and Mfule areas and sells his work in Melmoth and Empangeni at month-end markets and pension pay-points. His meat platters and spoons can be used as both decorative and functional items an are of very good standard. Celumusa also makes Imbadada shoes if he can find the materials.