Raquel Blog-The Artist in South African Life

During our time in South Africa we have met many unique and talented artists that have used their entrepreneurial skills to create a life for themselves. Artists in Cape Town and Johannesburg include painters, teabag makers, beaders, mosaic artists, sand painters, sculptors, ceramic makers, and all of the artisans at the markets.

In Cape Town we visited unique start up businesses including T-Bag Designs and Monkey Biz. At T-Bag Designs, we learned how one determined British woman came to South Africa and started a company with the idea of her special friend. She hired many South Africans that were not employed which created an opportunity that allowed many of the people to take care of their families. One woman even made enough money to buy herself a house. It was inspiring to see how one woman and her vision helped create change in the small towns of South Africa. Another company that did the same is Monkey Biz. At Monkey Biz, women are taught to learn how to bead different animals in order to make money for their families. This is important because many women are running a household without their husbands and having a job that they can do at home is very crucial. These women can bead while being able to watch their children and do housework as well.

At the market in both Cape Town and Joburg you can see many artisans at their booths with their own creations. They pride themselves in what they make and what they sell. There are many painters and jewelers and their work is incredible. It is important to realize that they are pricing them extra high so that way you can negotiate and bargain for a better price.

We met many great artists in the township of Langa as well. We met a man in Langa who showed us how he creates sand art. First he takes a piece of paper and creates shapes out of glue. Then he sprinkled sand on top of the glue with different colors. Then he shakes off the excess sand and a beautiful image is formed. He said that he had been doing his type of work for nineteen years and that he absolutely loves it. We met another woman in Lango who did ceramics. She explained step by step how to mold the clay, fire the clay, paint the clay, and fire the clay again. Her end pieces were beautifully crafted cups, bowls, plates and more.

What I love most about the artists I have met in South Africa is their passion for what they do and what they create. A lot of people say their art is therapeutic, and they enjoy it; it is also a great way to make money with tourists and visitors. Personally, I have purchased a gorgeous painting of a lion and another painting of an elephant. I love learning about the artist’s stories and their lives because it makes the art more meaningful. Most of all, I love to see entrepreneurship taking place all over the world.

This entry was posted in Class of 2019. Bookmark the permalink.