By: Letlhogonolo Ndhlovu
The popular Beads Art shop on Stanza Bopape, opposite the Reserve Bank in Pretoria CBD is commonly referred to as the Rasta shop where one can find all sorts of accessories brightly coloured in red, yellow and green.
Before people in Pretoria ever heard of the Rasta shop, Sekelo John from Sudan was selling beads he made on the streets of Johannesburg. “I became interested in that art of making beads and taking them to the market,” explained Sekelo.
“You find you grow up and you make a living from the craft you used to do as a child,” Sekelo said. Born Sudanese, Sekelo left the country very young because of the on-going war right at the horn of Africa.
He has lived in Rwanda and Kenya then settled in Tanzania where he watched his uncles make pots and other crafts. As a child he would be given small tasks to complete crafts that would later be sold at the market to tourists.
He travelled with the art to South Africa through other countries, stayed in Johannesburg for 5 years then eventually moved to Pretoria to find a new market for his craft 10 years ago.
The Beads Art shop hosts Rasta workshops where people can also learn beadwork and eliminate unemployment by starting their own businesses.
The accessories are made from everyday material people walk past on the streets or trash in dustbins. “I make earrings from dry pips falling from trees. I draw lines and paint
Rasta colours over it, said Sekelo. “ I design and use any material I think of, like Coca Cola caps, old leather to make the African continent and wooden tomato boxes which I cut into round shapes and paint over to make nice earrings,” Sekelo shared while displaying how simple it is to make accessories and make a living out off.
A day in Sekelo’s shoes…
Sekelo mostly spends his time making beads and looking for markets to display his crafts.
He sells at the Hatfield market, Pretoria Showground’s during the Pretoria Show and flea markets in Montana.
“I enjoy what I do for a living and people like what we make,” he said.
Over time, other designers started bringing their various crafts like handbags, dresses, skirts, Bob Marley printed t-shirts, rings and bands to the Beads Art shop and Sekelo sold them to customers from his shop on their behalf.
He still does that, he mentioned reassuringly.
So should you be a designer looking for a place to sell your work or happen to be in town, visit the Beads Art shop on Stanza Bopape Street opposite the Reserve Bank.
Source – showme.southafrica