Making something out of nothing or, to be precise, turning junk into artistic work, is the determined aim of Halima Sebusi and Maries Motshilebe, founder members of the Nomanini Community Self-Help Project which they started not only ago by collecting old newspapers, left-over paints, slightly soiled flour, salt and sugar from shops. Out of the mixture of flour and sugar they made glue, and they promptly started making papier mâché wall hangings which, unfortunately, all went into storage due to lack of demand.
The partners then went to a local radio station to appeal for anything they might regard as junk to be sent their way, especially from dressmakers, as the material they wanted was unbleached calico. Halima and Maries were unsuccessful in getting the junk they requested, but fortunately someone donated used clothes, which they sold for cash to buy fabric.
One day a passer-by at their workplace donated scraps of batting from cushions she was making. That was the start of Halima’s and Maries’ aprons, peg bags, plastic bag dispensers, place mats and wall hangings. The partners also started making beads out of flour and salt, and medicinal beads for teething babies’ necklaces from fig-tree twigs.
A year later, the pair say, they have yet to make money out of their artistic work. Undaunted, they have told themselves Nomanini si zo nqoba, meaning “We shall succeed no matter when” in teaching communities the skills of making something out of what others call junk. Hence the name of their business.
Their creativity is blooming, they report, and they are able to produce a wider than ever repertoire of items. But they lack “some specific junk”, and they appeal to anyone, anywhere in the world to help.
Specifically they need:
- Old cards – greeting cards, get well cards, Easter cards, etc.;
- Computer paper – for drawing;
- Odd buttons;
- Odd beads;
- Broken crockery;
- Odd twines or strings;
- Clothes dye;
- Left-over fabric paint; and
- Used clothing.
Meanwhile the partners warmly invite tourists and locals to visit their studio and view the items for sale. These budding entrepreneurs are determined to succeed and no doubt they will do so ‘no matter when’…