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African Beadwork by Veronice and Matanzima Baleni of Bonke Crafts
6 December 2008
Not many retail outlets have the very hands that make their wares, also selling them. The Country Craft Market prides itself on this requirement for all stalls. Visitors can therefore engage with crafters to add insights into the items that they are viewing or buy, giving them added value. Craft markets are usually places of fun and the joy that crafters derive from their work is evident.
Veronica Baleni and her aides of Bonke Crafts are an excellent example of this and their happy countenances and enthusiastic natures add their own value to their quality ethnic products. Amongst those that support the work of Bonke Crafts is her son Matanzima who years back started his own micro enterprise as part of her stall at the market .......
Matanzima soon had his own supporters and a continuous gathering of spectators watching him as his deft fingers fashion small beadwork, in particular his angels. His cheerful nature and ever present smile add a special vibrancy to their stall, and to the whole market. He hopes that all visitors to the market will visit him at the Bonke Crafts stall
Little wonder therefore that Matanzima will take centre stage at the Country Craft Market of 6 December. This will be his debut as a one-man-show demonstrator, and will give full credit to his contribution to both the ambiance and products of Bonke Craft.
Visitors will enjoy his happy nature and enthusiasm as he switches fluidly between working proudly with his rapid fingers, and assisting his customers with gratitude and flair. Humble and passionate, he leaves his mark on all who meet him.
Bonke Crafts produces colourful and varied ethnic beadwork, art work, wire bowls, wire necklaces, recycled paper maché products and traditional clothing.
Veronica tells that they started making and selling their craftwork in 2000 and in 2002 registered as a business, Bonke Crafts cc.
“We are based in Khayelitsha, actually Town Two to be precise”, says Veronica. “We started with just R20 in our pockets, and bought a bottle of beads for R10. Our first product was the AIDs ribbons but soon we had learned other patterns from books in the library. Now we have many different products in many patterns”.
“Reverend Marsh, our priest, has been our inspiration”. adds Veronica. It was he who first encouraged them to produce their craftwork and sell it at the church. Veronica smilingly reveals, “The ideas we have for new products are God given and we get them in visions in our sleep”.
Bonke Crafts also helps others by training women in the townships in various skills such as leather work, making recycled paper maché products, and painting. Tradition is never forgotten and Veronica explains, “The art in our work originates from old artefacts that our grandmother used to make, and she has passed these ideas to us”.
Last Updated 01 November 2017 16:11